The number of countries recognising the right of same-sex couples to marriage has increased since 2001 – including several Nordic nations, the UK and USA. However, gay marriage remains a divisive issue for many religions, with several viewing marriage as a bond exclusively between man and woman, sanctified by God. This panel discussion explores wideranging views on gay marriage and religion and how cultural values and beliefs affect people’s decision making. Can religion and same sex marriage ever go hand in hand?
The panel includes:
- Kieran Bohan, who is a founding member and co-facilitator of Open Table, an ecumenical Christian worship community for LGBT+ Christians. Kieran and his husband were the first same-sex couple to register a civil partnership in a place of worship in the UK in 2012. They converted their civil partnership to marriage in 2015 followed by a service of thanksgiving in an Anglican church.
- Paul Parker, who is a Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain. As British Quakers’ senior staff member, he was responsible for implementing their 2009 decision to recognise same-sex marriages equally with opposite-sex marriages and seeking legal recognition for this move. He is responsible for supporting nearly 500 Quaker meetings in England, Scotland & Wales, and for their national work on peace, social & economic justice and sustainability.
- Peter D Williams, who is an ex-atheist ‘revert’ to the Catholic Faith, a writer and commentator on religious and political issues, and a speaker for Catholic Voices.
Chaired by Arifa Akbar, Head of Content at the publisher Unbound, where she is launch editor of the new literary website, Boundless. She is a regular reviewer for The Financial Times, London Evening Standard and Sky News. She is also curating a Muslim literary festival called MFest at the British Library in April 2018.