What A Journey!
In 2019, ministers of the Methodist Church voted in favor of the proposals to amend the definition of marriage to allow same-sex weddings at their annual conference before sending the proposals to local synods for consultation.
That year 29 out of 30 local synods have followed suit, voting for change.
However, the final vote was canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic as they couldn’t organize the annual conference.
Finally, on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, Methodist Church members voted for same-sex marriage; and now it can be celebrated at any Methodist church in Britain as a valid religious ceremony under its rules of worship.
“A Momentous Step”
The vote on June 30 saw the British arm of the Methodist Church approves what it calls “a momentous step” by a vote of 254 in favor and 46 against the change at the 2021 Methodist Conference.
The church now holds two parallel definitions of marriage—one that says “marriage can only be between a man and a woman” and another one that says “marriage can be between any two people”.
The Methodist Church is the fourth largest Christian denomination in Britain, with more than 164,000 members.
photo from Twitter/@sceptwic
After years of providing a voice for LGBTQ people, out Rev. Sam McBratney, chair of the Dignity and Worth campaign group, is finally seeing his hard work and “painful conversations” pay off as he sees Methodist Church takes another “momentous step on the road to justice”.
“Some of us have been praying for this day to come for decades and can hardly believe it is now here,” he said. “We are so grateful to our fellow Methodists for taking this courageous step to recognize and affirm the value and worth of LGBTQ+ relationships.
“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.”
Freedom Of Conscience Clauses
This change was only possible because ministers are allowed freedom of conscience clauses so that they can refuse to perform a marriage ceremony for same-sex people.
Still Not Allowed In
It is not permitted for the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of England to conduct same-sex marriages.
However, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Reformed Church, and the Quakers in Britain also accept same-sex marriage.
The Methodist Church has voted to allow same-sex marriage, in a decision that will be welcomed by many within the church but is still controversial for some. It’s an important step forward and one which we hope can help bring about further change in other churches too.