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Methodist Church to allow same-sex marriages to take place in 'momentous step'
30 June 2021, 18:21 | Updated: 30 June 2021, 18:23
Same-sex couples will be allowed to get married in a "momentous step" for the LGBTQ+ community, the Methodist Church has announced.
The topic was debated at the Methodist conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 29 of the 30 Synods in the UK confirming they were in support of the resolution.
It was passed by the conference with 254 votes in favour and 46 against.
Reverend Dr Jonathan Hustler acknowledged the "depth of feeling, pain and anxiety that there is" during the proceedings.
It was also noted that "there was a general view that the church cannot close its eyes to what is happening in society", when it came to same-sex cohabitation.
The announcement comes on the final day of Pride month, which is celebrated each year to honour the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.
Campaign group Dignity & Worth, which champions the LGBTQ+ community in the Methodist Church, said: "Today the Methodist Conference has taken a momentous step on the road to justice and inclusion.
"After many years of, sometimes, painful conversations, the church has now agreed to allow local congregations to open their buildings to host the marriages of same-sex couples.
"The members of Dignity & Worth have been working and praying hard to see this day, recognising that the hard work of implementing this decision still lies ahead of us."
The chairman of the campaign group, Reverend Sam McBratney, said: "Some of us have been praying for this day to come for decades, and can hardly believe it is now here."
"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.
"And we reassure those who do not support this move, that we want to continue to work and worship with you in the church we all love."
It was also agreed that there would be strong safeguards for ministers who theologically opposed the resolutions and said they would not be forced to carry out same-sex services.
The Methodist Church of Britain currently has 164,000 members, making it the fourth largest denomination of Christian Churches in the UK.