Annual subscription to The Friend online for only £59.00.
Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
page:
contents page
previous next
zoom out zoom in
thumbnails double page single page large double page
fit width
clip to blog
Go to page 15 Go to page 9 Look up postcode TN24 8HH Call +442076631178 Look up postcode NW1 2BJ Call +442076631182 Send email to ads@thefriend.org Go to page 8 Call +441535630230 Go to page 13 Go to page 16 Call +441535630230 Open www.thefriend.org/advertise.asp Go to page 10 Send email to subs@thefriend.org Go to page 5 Go to page 4 Send email to trishc@thefriend.org Send email to editorial@thefriend.org Go to page 12 Go to page 3 Send email to editorial@thefriend.org Send email to ads@thefriend.org Go to page 14 Send email to jez@thefriend.org Go to page 11 Send email to arts@thefriend.org Look up postcode BD20 8LL Send email to subs@thefriend.org Go to page 7 Call +442076631010 Go to page 5 Open www.quaker.org.uk/eric-bramsted-tribute-bertha Send email to green@thefriend.org Go to page 6 Go to page 3 Go to page 17 Send email to news@thefriend.org Call +442076631178 Open www.thefriend.org click to zoom in Go to page 14 click to zoom in
page:
contents page
previous next
zoom out zoom in
thumbnails double page single page large double page
fit width
clip to blog

2

the Friend

INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843

CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 11 3-5 News 3 Civil partnership, religiously celebrated, moves closer 4 Punished for thinking? 5 Children of women in prison may lose contact time Symon Hill 6 Now is the Time

Sam Walton 7 Comment

David Boulton and Laurie Michaelis 8-9 Letters 10-11 Freed to live more fully…

Jill Kenner 12-13 The O of Home

Trish Carn Lent talks BBC Radio 4 Judy Kirby 14 An ecumenical Quaker wedding

Ian Macdonald 15 Simple Life in the Meeting House 16 q-eye: witness 17 Friends & Meetings

Cover image: Spring is coming. Photo: Trish Carn. Image on this page: Brenda Bailey and Marigold Bentley with the sculpture in memory of Bertha Bracey, on 8 March, before they headed to Downing Street. Brenda accepted the British Heroes of the Holocaust award posthumously for Bertha Bracey, who made a large contribution to the rescue of victims of Nazi oppression. This new award recognises the efforts of people who helped Jews and others escape from the horrors of the Holocaust. Twenty-eight people will receive the new award from the prime minister but Bertha Bracey is the only Quaker. Photo: Trish Carn.

For more information about Bertha Bracey go to: www.quaker.org.uk/eric-bramsted-tributebertha-bracey

The Friend Subscriptions UK £72 per year by all payment types including annual direct debit; monthly payment by direct debit £6.50; online only £45 per year.

For details of other rates, contact Penny Dunn on 020 7663 1178 or subs@thefriend.org

Advertising Advertisement manager:

George Penaluna

Tel/fax: 01535 630230

ads@thefriend.org www.thefriend.org/advertise.asp

Editorial

Editor: Judy Kirby

Articles, images correspondence should be emailed to editorial@thefriend.org or sent to the address below.

the Friend 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ Tel: 020 7663 1010 Fax: 020 7663 1182 www.thefriend.org Editor: Judy Kirby editorial@thefriend.org • Production editor: Jez Smith jez@thefriend.org • Sub-editor: Trish Carn trishc@thefriend.org • News reporter: Symon Hill news@thefriend.org • Arts editor: Rowena Loverance arts@thefriend.org • Environment editor: Laurie Michaelis green@thefriend.org • Subscriptions officer: Penny Dunn subs@thefriend.org Tel: 020 7663 1178 • Advertisement manager: George Penaluna, Ad department, 54a Main Street, Cononley, Keighley BD20 8LL Tel: 01535 630230 ads@thefriend.org • Clerk of the trustees: A David Olver • ISSN: 0016-1268 The Friend Publications Limited is a registered charity, number 211649 • Printed by Headley Bros Ltd, Queens Road, Ashford, Kent TN24 8HH

the Friend, 12 March 2010 News

Civil partnership, religiously celebrated,

moves closer

Quakers are celebrating the result of a dramatic vote in the House of Lords, which would for the first time allow the use of religious premises and religious language in same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.

If the proposal becomes law, it would lead to same-sex partnerships celebrated in Quaker Meetings receiving the same legal recognition as those solemnised in register offices. Campaigners are pushing to ensure that the legislation is not held up by the general election, or hampered by the backlash from anti-gay groups.

Friends have been instrumental in lobbying for the change, as religious elements are currently prohibited in civil partnerships. The proposal was carried by ninety-five votes to twenty-one after 11.00pm on Tuesday 2 March.

It takes the form of an amendment to the Equality Bill and was put forward by Waheed Alli, a gay Muslim and Labour peer. Ministers suggested that they would work with Alli to redraft the amendment and incorporate it into the Equality Bill. But the government is keen to see the Bill passed before the general election and some fear they may abandon aspects of it in an effort to get the Bill as a whole passed in time.

Nonetheless, the news provoked a jubilant reaction from Quakers and other campaigners.

‘I’m delighted,’ said Hannah, twenty-four, a Quaker who is in a same-sex relationship.

She told the Friend, ‘I hope that people of faith, regardless of their stance on sexuality, will see this as a triumph for freedom of religious expression’.

The vote has also been welcomed by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the Christian thinktank Ekklesia, the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, Liberal Judaism, the charity Stonewall and the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Several senior Church of England clerics have expressed their support for the change. The bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, a leading evangelical, said he was ‘in sympathy’ with the proposal.

‘The amendment deserved to succeed on the grounds of both equality and religious liberty,’ said Gillian Ashmore on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM) of Friends. ‘Same-sex couples who wish to give legal effect to their committed relationships will now be able to do so in a worshipful setting’.

Opposition to the measure has been led by Michael Scott-Joynt, the Anglican bishop of Winchester, who has used his position in the Lords to speak against it. During the debate, the Tory former minister Norman Tebbit also vociferously attacked the amendment.

‘I regret enormously the vote,’ said Scott-Joynt. He predicted that it would lead to Anglican clergy facing legal action ‘if they solemnise marriages… but refuse to host civil partnership signings in their churches’.

Although his prediction received widespread coverage in the media, it was ridiculed by those who pointed out that the amendment will allow faith groups the freedom to choose whether or not to host ceremonies.

‘I cannot see how such an action would get anywhere in a UK court in the face of the clear wording of the Alli amendment,’ said the Quaker academic Iain McLean, professor of politics at Oxford University.

In an open letter to the Bishop, he wrote, ‘Our Yearly Meeting decided to seek what is now the Alli amendment. It is, presumably, for your Synod to discuss the same subject and come to its own view.’

British Friends have been lobbying particularly strongly for marriage equality since BYM resolved in 2009 that same-sex marriages should be celebrated and recorded in exactly the same way as mixed-sex marriages. While Friends and others wait eagerly to see if the proposal makes it to the statute book, they may also be calling for change to go much further. BYM wants to use the word ‘marriage’ for both same-sex and mixed-sex commitments.

‘We look forward to taking part in further consultations with the government to flesh out the detail of how these proposals will work in practice,’ added Gillian Ashmore.

Symon Hill

See An ecumenical Quaker wedding, page 14.

the Friend, 12 March 2010

3