02 July 2021, The Tablet

Methodists consent to same-sex marriage 

Methodists consent to same-sex marriage 

Protestors at the Church of England’s Church House, Westminster in 2017 when bishops met to debate sexuality and marriage.
Guy Bell/Alamy

The Methodist Conference has consented in principle to the marriage of same sex couples after a long debate that followed many years of discussion.  

The resolution was passed by a large majority of 254 to 46. This now means that the Methodist Church of Great Britain will become the largest UK denomination that accepts marriage equality, including allowing LGBT couples to marry. 

The report of the marriage and relationships task group from 2019, God in Love Unites Us, was discussed and scrutinised at the 2019 Methodist Conference and was commended for study throughput the Church in 2020. As a result of the discussions and issues raised, the decision was taken and the resolution to allow same sex couples to marry was drawn up.

The Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England has expressed its support of the motion and has encouraged the bishops of the Church of England to bring forth similar proposals in due course. 

The campaign has also congratulated Dignity and Worth, their sister organisation in the Methodist Church, for their work and efforts to drive through the motion, hoping for the same result to happen now in the Church of England.

The resolution contrasts with the Catholic response to blessings of same sex couples. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said earlier this year that “God cannot bless sin”, causing some dismay among LGBT Catholics. Despite this, the Pope, in a recent letter to Fr James Martin on his attitude towards gay Catholics, has since emphasised that God’s style has “three elements: closeness, compassion and tenderness”, though this is far from an endorsement of same sex marriage. 

The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain, supporter of the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, said: “That the Methodist Church in Great Britain is to celebrate gay and lesbian marriages in its Churches is joyful news, especially as it came on the last day of Pride Month. Throughout their discussions and debates they have openly acknowledged that a diversity of opinion exists amongst Methodists and they have modelled a process that the Church of England could learn from in its openness and transparency. I look forward to the day when the views of the majority of the Church of England are also heard and respected in the same way and we can celebrate marriage equality in our churches too.’

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