Methodist Church votes to allow same-sex marriages
The Methodist Church has risen to become the largest Christian group in the United Kingdom to permit same-gender weddings.
On Wednesday, the Church declared that same-sex couples will be permitted to marry on its grounds. The proposals to legalize same-sex weddings were passed with 254 votes in favor and 46 votes against following debates on the matter at the Methodist Conference.
Ministers who reject the reforms will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages, according to the Methodist Church.
After many years of often painful debates, Dignity & Worth, a Methodist Church campaign group, said the decision marked a “momentous step on the road to justice and inclusivity.”
The group’s chair, Rev. Sam McBratney, congratulated the church for taking a “courageous step.”
The Rev Sonia Hicks, who became the Methodist Church’s first black female president over the weekend, called it a “historic day for our church.” “Support each other while respecting our differences,” she advised.
Jayne Ozanne, a member of the C of E’s ruling body, the General Synod, said the vote highlighted “the huge shift that has occurred among Christian attitudes in England, and indicates how many people would support Bishop Paul Bayes’ recent plea to allow same-sex marriage in the C of E.”
The church has 164,000 members, making it the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United Kingdom.