Methodist Church Changes Definition Of Marriage, Embraces Same-Sex Unions
The Methodist Church has become the largest religious denomination in Britain to embrace same-sex marriages. This comes after members of the church overwhelmingly voted to change the definition of marriage at the Methodist Conference on Wednesday.
Of the 300 delegates who attended the Methodist Conference, a massive 254 voted in favour of changing the definition of marriage, compared to only 46 who voted against it.
This means that ministers will now be able to officiate at marriages of same-sex couples in Methodist churches in Britain.
However, the decision to officiate at same-sex marriages will not be forced on all Methodist ministers. Those who are opposed to the move are not forced to officiate at same-sex weddings due to a freedom of conscience clause.
The Methodist Church is Britain’s fourth-largest Christian denomination with about 164,000 members across more than 4,000 churches.
Church officials hope the first same-sex weddings in Methodist chapels will take place in the autumn.
Same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church.
However, it is welcomed in the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Reformed Church and the Quakers in Britain.
Following the momentous vote in Britain, the Methodist Church in Ireland said it was not following suit and would continue to only permit marriages between a man and a woman.
The Methodist Church in Ireland’s general secretary Rev Dr Heather Morris told the BBC,
“The Methodist Church in Ireland is a separate and autonomous body which continues to affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
“We too continue to deliberate on these issues, deeply mindful that this is an area on which Christians disagree and that this deliberation profoundly affects the lives of many people within and beyond the church.”
The Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church – the other two main Christian denominations in Ireland – also do not permit same-sex marriages.
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