April 6, 2012
Where are Quakers with the insistent question of homosexuality?
Are we welcoming and affirming? Or do we proclaim homosexuality a sin, asking that those with the ‘affliction’ renounce their desires.
Of course we are divided, some Yearly Meetings of one opinion and some Yearly Meetings of the other – though all Yearly Meetings with some dissenters from the prevailing opinion. And nearly everywhere, wouldn’t you agree, we are inclined to silence, finding the topic too charged with the possibility of ugly conflict.
I’d like to puncture the silence and compile a more fine-grained picture. I invite Friends across the continent to report on the state of the discussion of homosexuality in their Yearly Meeting.
Here are the questions I’d like you to address. Post your answers in the comments below. Or, if you’d prefer, e-mail them to me at email@example.com. I won’t disclose to others who provided the account. As a first comment, I’ll offer some answers for Indiana Yearly Meeting.
1. Does your Yearly Meeting have an official statement about homosexuality, either in its Faith and Practice or in some other form? Can you point us to a copy of the statement? (If the statement is not available on the web, could you email me a copy?)
2. Can (and do) Monthly Meetings or Churches in the Yearly Meeting perform marriages between same sex couples? Are such unions a topic of controversy in the Yearly Meeting?
3. Can you describe the current state of discussion about homosexuality in your Yearly Meeting? Is there active discussion? occasional awkward discussion? edgy silence? spirit-filled unity?
4. Is there a group within the Yearly Meeting that actively promotes a welcoming and affirming posture among Friends? Does it have formal recognition from the Yearly Meeting? (Such a group might be a Yearly Meeting committee that has other concerns as well.)
5. Is there a group within the Yearly Meeting that gathers LGBTQ Friends for support and friendship? Does it have formal recognition from the Yearly Meeting?
6. What else should be said to give an accurate, current understanding of homosexuality among Friends in your Yearly Meeting?
I’ll appreciate the answers received regarding Yearly Meetings across North America.