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Reverend John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church

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.

Some URC churches immediately celebrated the decision.

The URC is part of a coalition of denominations that lists gambling and alcohol as the “social issues” with which it is concerned.