Open letter on marriage equality

The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, supports the right of adult couples in loving and committed relationships to marry, regardless of gender. We also support the right of such couples to have their marriages accorded equal recognition and respect under the law of Australia. Our faith prompts us to recognise the divine in all people. It is a basic Quaker principle that all people are equal in the Spirit. As part of the journey to live our faith, we have worked to support the equal treatment of all persons regardless of sex, race or religion. The way has been hard at times, and we recognise that true equality will always remain a direction to be travelled rather than a destination to be reached. In 2010 Australian Quakers came together and agreed to celebrate marriages within our Meetings regardless of the sexual orientation or gender of the partners. Quakers have long held that marriage “is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses”. The question before us was simply whether to open our hearts to these marriages that already existed among us. The law currently prevents Quakers from facilitating the same legal recognition for same-sex marriages that we do for other marriages. This legal prohibition is fundamentally inconsistent with Quaker faith and practice. Religious freedom would encompass the freedom to include, celebrate and recognise the commitments of LGBTIQ couples, as both spiritual and legal marriages.

We recognise that everyone will be at a different point in the journey. Some have purported to speak on behalf of all Christians in opposing marriage equality. Such people do not speak for us. We invite them to continue to follow their path with integrity, while asking that they recognize that their way is not for all people of faith. Quakers consider that a majority vote in a voluntary public poll is an inappropriate way to decide the legal rights of minorities who are subject to discrimination. We are also concerned about the impacts on LGBTIQ people, their children and families. We encourage everyone to open their hearts, to choose love over fear, and to support marriage equality in Australia.

On behalf of Friends, Jo Jordan,
Presiding Clerk, Religious Society of Friends, Quakers in Australia,
119 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Australia Yearly Meeting in Adelaide

AYM Epistle 2017

Ta Marra, open hands     Ta Marra, open hands
Greetings from Australia Yearly Meeting 2017 where we were welcomed to the beautiful lands of the Kaurna people among the sand dunes at Adelaide Shores Beach in a moving dialogue between Kaurna Elders and Friends.
We gathered from meetings across Australia and with overseas Friends; mid-winter sun gracing our days and a full moon our first night. Amid a ‘community of cottages’, our children, young people and adults engaged with each other and the ocean environment, deepening the impact of Earthcare and other like ministries over our week-long program, the complete Epistle as a downloadable pdf

Quakers highlight dissent, courage and conscience in World War 1 exhibition

Dissent and opposition to the war, and to preparations for the war, are highlighted in a World War 1 centenary exhibition entitled 'World War 1: Quaker witness to peace and nonviolence'.