UNITED KINGDOM, July 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The General Assembly of the United Reformed Church voted 240-21 on Saturday to allow local churches to conduct same-sex “marriages” in their buildings, making it the largest denomination in the United Kingdom to allow the practice.
“Today, the URC has made an important decision – at which some will rejoice and with which others will be uncomfortable,” said Rev. John Proctor, the General Secretary of the URC in a statement.
“Those of our churches who now wish to offer full marriage services to same-sex couples are free to do just that – and those churches who do not wish to are not compelled to. All are part of this denomination. This has been a sensitive issue for many in our churches. It has been important to take our time over the decision process, and to listen as carefully as we can to one another along the way.”
The URC has considered such a proposal for the past three years. In 2015, the Assembly voted in a special session to allow local churches to decide whether to perform same-sex “weddings.” Saturday’s vote confirmed the decision as church policy.
The denomination has roughly 1,500 churches across the UK from Orkney to Cornwall, according to its website.
LGBT activists celebrated the decision and expressed hope that the Church of England would follow suit.
Good to see the URC steaming ahead with #EqualMarriage: here's hoping @c_of_e catches up soon! #SharedConversations https://t.co/QIw6S1BKof
— Phil Groom (@notbovvered) July 11, 2016
The United Reformed Church has voted to carry out same-sex marriages! Praise the Lord! Well done, #URC .
— Symon Hill (@SymonHill) July 10, 2016
Happy to report that the United Reformed Church General Assembly has voted, by 240 to 21, to allow ministers to conduct same-sex marriages.
— Equality Network (@LGBTIScotland) July 9, 2016
Some URC churches immediately celebrated the decision.
WE CAN NOW CELEBRATE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES!! Time to celebrate! Who wants to get married?! #urcga16 #lgbtqi #lovewins #loveislove
— AugustineUnited (@AugustineUnited) July 10, 2016
We are so pleased to announce the URC has voted allow same-sex marriage in its churches. https://t.co/sAwoScCFJF
— City Church Cardiff (@CityURCCardiff) July 9, 2016
The URC is part of a coalition of denominations that lists gambling and alcohol as the “social issues” with which it is concerned.