The Quakers have told Queen Elizabeth II that they support gay marriage as they addressed her for her diamond jubilee.
Twelve members of the Religious Society of Friends of Truth, better known as Quakers, were amongst those invited to address the Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
They told her: ‘Our commitment to equality led us in 2009 to seek a change in the law to provide for same sex and opposite sex marriages on an equal basis.
‘This is because of our deeply held belief that we see the light of god in everyone which leads us to respect the inherent worth of each individual and each loving relationship.
‘We see the recent move to allow the celebration of civil partnerships on religious premises as a step towards full equality in marriage.’
The Quakers are one of the religious groups to have already backed gay marriage and to call for the government to allow same-sex weddings to be conducted by religious organizations who want to – something the UK politicians are currently ruling out.
Their comments to the Queen also covered a range of other subjects, including equality, justice, non-violence, the global economy and environment.
Clare Dimyon, a lesbian Quaker who received an MBE for her LGBT human rights work, told Gay Star News that she backed equality even though she doesn’t agree with marriage.
She said: ‘Quakers don’t support same-sex or any other kind of marriage, we support equality based on the central, and only, principle of Quakerism which is that there is that of “God” in every person, however you define “God”.
‘If you believe in the equality of all people how can you justify any discrimination? That's why equality is central to Quakerism and forms one of our central traditions (women were always equal within the Quaker movement).
‘I personally don’t believe in “marriage” at all because it was founded as a legal mechanism to hand women as property from one man to another (father to husband) and symbolizes for me the oppression and violence against women down the centuries.
‘However I do believe in equality and I do believe in sensible legal arrangements defining rights and responsibilities between two people who are living and loving together.
‘The Queen is equal as a person but happens to be the head of state and as “Quakers” we are required to take an active part in political life so that our beliefs are put into action.’
While Queen Elizabeth is head of state she does not exercise direct political power in Britain although she meets the UK prime minister weekly.