Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 12:44 pm, 5th February 2013

If hon. Members will allow me to make a little more progress, we can have further interventions later.

It is clear from the contributions we have just heard that there is no doubt about the fundamental importance of faith in this country today, but I do not believe that as a country we have to choose between religious belief and fairness for same-sex couples. It is important to remember that religious views on same-sex marriage differ, too. The Quakers, the Unitarians and the liberal Jewish communities have all said that they want to conduct same-sex marriages. Indeed, Paul Parker, who speaks for the Quakers, said that the first same-sex marriage in a Quaker meeting will be

“a wonderful day for marriage, and…religious freedom”.

We have to respect and take note of that.

Our proposals will ensure that all religious organisations can act in accordance with their beliefs because equal marriage should not come at the cost of freedom of faith, nor freedom of faith come at the cost of equal marriage. We are capable of accommodating both. This Bill does so in a very straightforward manner.

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Nick Barnes
Posted on 6 Feb 2013 9:35 am (Report this annotation)

The Wikipedia link for Paul Parker isn't very useful. Wikipedia doesn't have a page for the relevant Paul Parker (the current recording clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting). Many Quakers, quite likely including him, would demur from the notion that he "speaks for the Quakers".