by Jeff Perkins, Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting

On behalf of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting I am sending you the attached minute regarding same sex marriage equality that was approved by our Meeting for Worship for Business. A minute approved by a Quaker meeting shares the community’s unity on a particular issue or action. We wish to share this minute with the Chestnut Hill Community. The minute reflects our careful discernment on this issue and is informed by our experience of same sex relationships within our welcoming faith community over many years.

We are also sending this minute to our state elected officials. We believe it is important for them to understand that as people of faith we support same sex marriage equality. We are happy to share this Light that Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting has come to on this issue and trust in the Spirit’s work in our world to bring us all into greater love and community.

The minute, approved on November 17 reads as follows:

As Quakers we believe that two adults may be united by God in mutual love, faithful partnership and the sacred commitment of marriage. In addition to this inward experience of marriage, the couple may wish to enact an outward expression of their inward commitment. When a couple within our faith community holds a Quaker wedding, all who are present acknowledge and celebrate the couple’s commitment and sacred truth. In its recognition and celebration of the marriage the Quaker faith community commits to nurturing and supporting the couple as they live out their marriage in the community.

Quaker beliefs in equality and integrity lead Chestnut Hill Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to seek the same legal recognition and benefits by federal and state governments for same sex couples as those for different sex couples. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional is a welcome motion towards equality for all – for the members of our faith community and for the broader society. However, this equality cannot be fully realized when it is stymied by laws at the state level, such as the Defense of Marriage Act that currently exists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

With humility, we acknowledge that our clarity on this issue was realized over time as we witnessed the faithful, spirit filled, committed partnerships of same sex couples in our community. They have enriched and enlivened us. We appreciate the vigorous effort needed to recognize and advocate for this truth. We call upon our Pennsylvania legislators to act now in this same spirit of truth and integrity. Please assure the same rights, privileges and benefits that accrue to and support couples in marital relationships are realized by all couples.

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