Cleveland Meeting's Witness on Same Gender Marriage

October 3, 2004

We, the members of the Cleveland Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) are deeply saddened by the current attempt to amend the Ohio Constitution to limit the legal benefits and sanction of marriage to couples consisting of a man and a woman. We hold to the truth that it is God who joins two people together in marriage; while a government may hold power to withhold legal benefits and even to deny some couples equal protection, it does not have the authority to marry or deny marriage.

We recognize that there are passages in the Bible that condemn promiscuous and idolatrous homosexual acts; but we find nothing that addresses the question of committed, loving, monogamous same-gender relationships. We have discovered that when we offer unconditional love it becomes easier for us to open ourselves to God's leadings and to have the courage to let go of our personal desires and idols and move into more faithful obedience to God. Our task is to learn how to love the way Jesus loved his disciples and asks us to love one another. We direct each other to the law God has written on each of our hearts.

Members of our Meeting know many same-gender couples that very clearly are married, including members of our own Meeting. They have made commitments to love and cherish each other in riches and in poverty, in sickness and in health, till by death they are parted. We see many of these couples raising children with love and wisdom, and we see the fruits of their obedience to God: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things." (Gal 5:22 NRSV)

We have seen the blessing of God on their unions, on their families, and through them on the wider community. Our Testimony of Integrity calls on us to witness to what we have seen with our own eyes. It is our hope and our prayer that each Ohio voter will recognize the visible truth of these marriages, and vote to reject Issue One.

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