Methodist Church To Allow Same-Sex Marriage After Vote
The Methodist church has become the largest religious denomination in the UK to allow same-sex marriages, putting it at odds with the Church of England.
After debates on the topic at the Methodist Conference, the proposals to allow same-sex marriages were passed with 254 votes in favor and 46 against
However, the freedom of conscience clause will allow ministers to opt out of conducting such weddings.
The Rev Sonia Hicks, elected as the Methodists’ first black female president at the weekend, said it was a “historic day for our church”. She urged people “to support each other respecting our differences”.
Dignity & Worth, a campaign group in the Methodist Church, said the vote was a “momentous step on the road to justice and inclusion” after many years of sometimes painful conversations.
Rev. Sam McBratney, who chairs the group, praised the “courageous step” taken by the church.
The conference also voted to recognise, accept, and celebrate the love and commitment of unmarried cohabiting couples.
Same-sex marriage is forbidden in the Church of England and the Roman Catholic church but permitted by Quakers in Britain, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and United Reformed Church.
Jayne Ozanne, a campaigner for LGBT+ equality and a member of the C of E’s ruling body, the General Synod, said the vote reflected “the significant shift that there has been among Christian attitudes in England, and shows how so many people would echo the recent call of Bishop Paul Bayes to allow same-sex marriage in the C of E”.
After her election as president on Sunday, Hicks told the conference about her great-aunt Lize, who had arrived from Jamaica with her Methodist membership card only to be rejected from her local church because she was black according to Guardian UK. She said:
In a world where people are excluded because of their ethnic background, their sexual orientation, their gender or simply because, like me, they were brought up on a council estate, I believe that we are called to show God’s love for all people.