A Unitarian church in Cambridge has been told it can begin marrying gay couples following a bureaucratic delay.

The Memorial Church had seen its application to provide the ceremonies delayed for several weeks due to confusion over its independent status.

Cambridge News reports Andrew Brown, minister at the church, said: “We submitted our registration forms almost as soon as the legislation went through.

“But, unfortunately there was some confusion due to the General Register Office (GRO) being unsure whether we, as a local, independent church, had the authority to register ourselves.

“We do, of course, and, thanks to the fact that, as Unitarians and Free Christians, we are fortunate to have a national Chief Officer, Derek McAuley, who was able authoritatively to confirm on our behalf our independent status it’s all now been sorted and we should have some kind of confirmatory piece of paper in our possession in a few days.”

As of yet, The Memorial Church has had no marriage requests by same-sex couples, but according to Mr Brown, it is the principal that is most important.

“My headline message would be that we want to say publicly that we extend the circle of love to include everyone.

“I think it’s just great to make one step closer to treating each other with more respect and more love, and this is an important step.”

He added: “It’s all about love and we are delighted that we can be a church that widens this circle.”

The Unitarians are among faith groups such as the Quakers and Liberal Judaism who are happy to provide marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.