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UK Methodist Church to allow same-sex marriages

LONDON — Britain's Methodist Church on Wednesday (June 30) became the country's largest religious denomination to allow same-sex marriages, after voting for gay couples to wed on its premises.

Methodist churches could start conducting same-sex marriages in September 2021, after the governing body notifies authorities in England and Wales.

Methodist churches could start conducting same-sex marriages in September 2021, after the governing body notifies authorities in England and Wales.

LONDON — Britain's Methodist Church on Wednesday (June 30) became the country's largest religious denomination to allow same-sex marriages, after voting for gay couples to wed on its premises.

All but one of Britain's 30 Methodist synods supported the decision at a national conference in Birmingham, central England, which passed the resolution by 254 votes to 46.

Church leader Jonathan Hustler acknowledged the "depth of feeling, pain and anxiety" around same-sex marriage but said Methodism "cannot close its eyes to what is happening in society".

Campaign group Dignity & Worth, which represents the LGBTQ community within Britain's Methodist Church, described the move as "a momentous step on the road to justice and inclusion".

"Some of us have been praying for this day to come for decades and can hardly believe it is now here," said chairman Sam McBratney.

"We are so grateful to our fellow Methodists for taking this courageous step to recognise and affirm the value and worth of same-sex relationships," he added.

Ministers theologically opposed to the resolution will not be forced to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies, and churches will not be obliged to register to provide them.

With 164,000 adherents, the Methodist Church is Britain's fourth-largest Christian denomination.

The Scottish Episcopal Church and the United Reformed Church also allow same-sex marriages.

But they remain forbidden in the state-established Church of England, which is headed by Queen Elizabeth II, and the Roman Catholic Church.

Methodist churches could start conducting same-sex marriages in September, after the governing body notifies authorities in England and Wales.

Same-sex marriages have been legal in England and Wales since 2013 and in Scotland since 2014, but remained banned in Northern Ireland until 2020.

Methodism is an 18th century offshoot of the Church of England and is particularly strong in the United States, where it has split over the issue of same-sex matrimony. AFP

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UK LGBT Christianity Methodist religion same-sex marriage

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