United Reformed Church votes to allow same-sex marriages
The United Reformed Church has become the biggest UK Christian denomination to allow same-sex marriages to take place in its churches.
On Saturday evening, the URC voted with a large majority, 240 votes to 21, to start allowing same-sex weddings in its churches.
Following the vote the first same-sex weddings are expected to take place as soon as the autumn.
The URC has 56,000 members, and would be by far the largest denomination to allow same-sex marriages in its churches.
Other smaller churches like the Quakers and Oasis Group have already begun allowing same-sex weddings, since they were made legal in 2013 in England, Scotland and Wales.
Another denomination, the Scottish Episcopal Church, is expected to pass a similar motion next summer.
The Church of England is also set to publish a study into sexuality, although it is barred from allowing same-sex weddings in its churches through the legislation passed in 2013.
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Official church doctrine continues to teach that gay people are “disordered”.
Pope Francis earlier this year released a long-awaited report on ‘the family’ which affirms existing church teachings opposing gay equality and same-sex marriage.
Despite an early ‘who am I to judge’ PR blitz attempting to bolster his image, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.
Proposals to ‘reach out’ to gay people were scrapped at last year’s Synod – and despite suggestions that the plans would return this year, it is clear that the Church has no plans to have another discussion surrounding the matter.
The Vatican has also maintained a silence after a report exposed that it was funding a ‘gay cure’clinic for priests – and has not commented on reports that anti-gay hate groups are being funded by Catholic donors.
The Pope recently suggested that same-sex marriage is a ‘passing fad’.