Lis Sutherland and Paul Campion receive the Stonewall Community Group of the Year award

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Said Lis, receiving the award,

The Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, don’t have a creed; we have as a guiding principle the belief that the presence of God is consistently revealed in the lives of women and men. This belief led the Society of Friends, in 1963 – 50 years ago – to produce a booklet entitled ‘Towards A Quaker View of Sex’ which declared:

“Surely it is the nature and quality of a relationship that matters; one must not judge by its outward appearance but by its inner worth”.

Later in July 1995 the first British Quaker gay celebration of commitment took place in Oxford Meeting House, and then in July 2009 it was decided by the British Quakers as a whole for religious marriage to be offered to same sex couples.

And Paul said,

Following the publication of ‘Towards a Quaker View of Sex’ in 1963, an
eminent Quaker, David Blamires, wrote about his own life experience in
‘Homosexuality from the Inside’. This led directly to the formation in 1973
of one of the first religious fellowships for gay women and men in this
country.

Now celebrating its fortieth year,, our Quaker Lesbian and Gay Fellowship
continues to bear witness and offer friendship within our Quaker
Community.

Thank you, on behalf of all Quakers, who for so many years, have
supported equality for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

The award comes with a cheque for £5,000, provided by the Inclusive Foundation and supported by Square Peg Media.

We join with Lis and Paul in thanking Stonewall and its partners for this recognition.

 

QLGF named as Stonewall Community Group of the Year

The Quaker Lesbian & Gay Fellowship (QLGF) is delighted to be named Community Group of the Year at tonight’s Stonewall Awards ceremony.  The award crowns a year in which same-sex marriage, which Quakers have long campaigned for, became law in England and Wales.

Paul Campion, a long-standing campaigner who received the award on behalf of QLGF, said,

“This generous award acknowledges the efforts that not only QLGF but also Quakers in Britain have been making over many years to obtain equal rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation. It is so fitting that the award is presented exactly 40 years after the courageous inaugural meeting of our Fellowship. We must remember with gratitude those first members who spoke out, and came out, for the sake of equality and freedom from fear.

QLGF feels it is especially apt that this award should be made, not only in the year that same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales, but exactly fifty years since the publication of Towards a Quaker View of Sex, which challenged traditional Christian views of homosexuality.  Quakers consider that they should be able to follow the insights of their membership in celebrating life-long committed relationships between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, in exactly the same way as they currently recognise the marriage of opposite sex couples.

Quakers in Britain accepted same-sex marriage in principle at their 2009 gathering.

QLGF acknowledges the work of Quakers in Britain, and in particular the Young Friends General Meeting, in working for true equality for all before God.

ENDS

QLGF Welcomes Commons vote on Equal Marriage Bill

NEWS RELEASE: Quaker Lesbian & Gay Fellowship welcomes Commons vote on Equal Marriage

6 February 2013

The Quaker Lesbian & Gay Fellowship (QLGF) has welcomed the House of Commons vote  in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill last night.  Rosalind Mitchell, Media Officer for  QLGF, said today: “We are all very excited about this change in the law.  Quakers have accepted the right of same-sex couples to a spiritual celebration of their union for nearly four years now, and it’s good to see that Parliament has listened and voted for this move towards equality.

“Quakers see God in all people, and this leads us to see all people as equal before God.  When they gather together in meetings, which are welcoming and open to all, they are able to witness all committed loving relationships and celebrate them in the spirit”.

ENDS

Press Release: QLGF welcomes proposals for equal marriage

13 December 2012

The Quaker Lesbian & Gay Fellowship (QLGF) has warmly welcomed the government’s proposals to allow the celebration of same-sex marriage in places of worship.

Rosalind Mitchell, media correspondent for QLGF, said today:  “This is wonderful news for all of us. Quakers have time and time again taken a lead in seeking justice and equality.  It’s rewarding that fifty years after Towards a Quaker View of Sex was published and Quakers first began to embrace the diversity of  sexuality, we will be able to open up a celebration of marriage in the spirit to all”.

Quakers acknowledge that of God in all people and see all people as equal before God, in all aspects of their lives including their loving relationships, and we wish to celebrate all of them in the same way.

ENDS

For further information contact Rosalind Mitchell – Media Officer, QLGF
Phone: 07848 008274
Email: media@qlgf.org.uk

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Towards a Quaker View of Sex
Towards a Quaker View of Sex, by ‘a group of Friends’, was first published in 1963.  The authors remained anonymous because at the time homosexual acts were still criminalised.  Amongst other things, they wrote:

Sexual activity is essentially neither good nor evil; it is a normal biological activity which, like most other human activities, can be indulged in destructively or creatively.  Further, if we take impulses and experiences that are potentially wholesome and in a large measure unavoidable and characterize those as sinful, we create a great volume of unnecessary guilt and an explosive tension within the personality. When, as so often happens, the impulse breaks through the restriction, it does so with a ruthlessness and destructive energy that might not otherwise have been there. A distorted Christianity must bear some of the blame for the sexual disorders of society.

Quaker decision on same sex relationships
At their Yearly Meeting in York in 2009, Quakers in Britain sought a change in the law so that same sex marriages can be prepared, celebrated, witnessed, reported to the state, and recognised as legally valid, without further process, in the same way as opposite sex marriages are celebrated in Quaker meetings.

Quakers consider that they should be able to follow the insights of their membership in celebrating life-long committed relationships between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, in exactly the same way as they currently recognise the marriage of opposite sex couples.

QLGF Newsletter

Articles for the QLGF Newsletter are always welcome – views. comments, news, photos, cartoons, poems, book reviews – please do send anything you’ve got to the editor as soon as you can.
If you are part of a local QLGF group, how about telling members about what you’ve been doing and inviting them to future events?

You can send items via gill.coffin(a)btinternet.com – just edit this address to do so. Or directly to the editor via the contact page.

2013 – two significant anniversaries for LGBT Quakers

Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1963In 2013 it will be the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Towards a Quaker View of Sex” and the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Friends Homosexual Fellowship, our predecessor organisation. QLGF’s committee, meeting yesterday, plans to mark this historic year.

First, we will encourage the membership to revisit and remember what FHF and QLGF were set up to do. Then we will go on to review together what we are doing now, and, most importantly, to think about what we should do next.

The context has changed so much since 1973 – do we still need QLGF, and, if we do, what should be the focus? We will begin by consulting our membership, by email, snail mail, through our Newsletter, and at our next Gathering (October 20, Lancaster).

But we hope to widen the consultation after that, and then in 2013… well, what we do will depend on the responses we get!

Let us know your views, and help us to celebrate in 2013!

Woodbrooke: Embracing the LGBT Community

Woodbrooke, the Quaker residential study centre in Birmingham, has places still available for its course Quakers for Equality: Embracing the LGBT Community

For the past 5 years Manchester and Warrington Friends have worked with Manchester Gay Pride to engage with the LGBT community. We’ve hosted ceilidhs, information evenings, outdoor meetings for worship, walked in the pride parade, run a stall and protested. We’d like to share our experiences and help the Quaker community explore engaging with the LGBT community. Manchester Pride Committee, which includes both sexes and heterosexual, gay and lesbian members, was formed to formalise our Area Meeting’s commitment to Manchester Pride.

The course will run from Wednesday, 9 May to Friday 11 May and the cost is £180 with standard Woodbrooke accommodation, £190 with en-suite accommodation. Woodbrooke is keen to help those, Quakers or non-Quakers, who would otherwise be prevented from attending its courses and bursaries are available. Check the Woodbrooke site for details of further sources of funding.

QLGF Forums

We have now launched the QLGF forums, a space for in-depth discussion of LGBT, Quaker and other issues.

You can find the forums either by pointing your browser at http://qlgf.org.uk/forums or by clicking on ‘Forums’ in the menu at the top of this page.

Ben & Jerry launches Ice Cream for Equal Marriage

Ben & Jerry's Apple-y Ever After

This sounds like my kind of campaigning tool. One which lets me show solidarity and throw dietary angst to the winds. Ben & Jerry have renamed their Apple Pie flavour Apple-y Ever After, and invite everybody to "tie the knot for marriage equality"

Over on Twitter, Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) urges all gay people to discard low-carb diets and gorge on Ben & Jerry’s in thanks for their support on gay marriage.