One of the UK’s oldest Christian denominations, the Quakers, have decided to extend marriage services to same-sex couples at their yearly annual meeting which took place last month in York, England.

The Quakers have already welcomed same-sex unions for more than two decades. Special acts of worship have been set up which allows same-sex commitments to be celebrated.

“The vote by the Quakers to open up marriage to same-sex couples, on exactly the same basis as heterosexual couples, is an honourable, courageous, trail-blazing decision,” said gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of LGBT equality group OutRage! in a statement.

“It exposes the homophobia of other faiths that refuse to recognise love and commitment between couples of the same sex, and it specifically exposes their denial of religious marriage to same-sex couples,” added Tatchell.

However, according to Tatchell, the decision is set to clash with the British government which only recognises same-sex civil partnerships.

“If it refuses to recognise Quaker same-sex marriages, the government will provoke a confrontation with religious bodies. It will effectively over-ride their religious authority and independence, and shore up homophobic discrimination. It would send entirely the wrong signal if Gordon Brown’s government sided with homophobic, discriminatory religious leaders against marriage equality for same-sex couples,” Tatchell said.

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