The Methodist Church has backed gay clergy and same sex marriage.

In a vote at the annual state convention of the church in Minneapolis yesterday, members approved a resolution supporting equal access to the faith for all sexualities and the removal of a prohibition on ‘homosexual unions.’

The vote was 496-223 in favour of equality in the denomination “regardless of sexual orientation” and 394-320 supporting a removal of the “prohibition of United Methodist clergy from celebrating homosexual unions.”

The result will be brought up at the Methodist Church’s General Convention in 2008.

Head of the Church of England, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has previously requested gay issues are avoided at their next conference also in 2008, while the Church of Scotland last week backed gay marriage.