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Methodist Church votes to accept same sex marriage and affirm cohabitation

The Methodist Church in the UK has voted to approve of cohabitation and same sex marriage. 

The Methodist Conference, taking place this week, has voted to allow same sex weddings on Methodist premises by Methodist ministers and affirm couples who are not married, living together. 

The resolution reads: "The Conference consents in principle to the marriage of same-sex couples on Methodist premises throughout the Connexion and by Methodist ministers, probationers or members in so far as the law of the relevant jurisdiction permits or requires and subject to compliance with such further requirements, if any, as that law imposes."

Local synods had already shown favour of the change to marriage by 29-1, with Wednesday's vote of 254-46 being the final consideration. 

The Conference, which has responsibility for the government, discipline, management and administration of the Church, was debating a report called 'God in Love Unites Us', and the vote signifies one of the largest denominations in Britain changing its mind on the issue. 

Most speakers spoke in favour of the resolution, speaking about the future of the Church, the desire for their children to feel accepted and the fear of people leaving the church because they do not believe that God loves them. 

Some also asked that the resolution be passed so that other members of the church can live by their consciences and people with different views can stay in the Church. 

Some spoke about their concerns that what they see as the Bible's view of marriage - being only for heterosexual couples - was not given enough weight. 

Many people also spoke of the desire to respect different people's consciences so that no minister would be forced to conduct a same sex wedding. 

The Conference also affirmed cohabitation, saying: "The Church recognises that the love of God is present within the love of human beings who are drawn to each other, and who enter freely into some form of life-enhancing committed relationship with each other, whether that be through informal cohabitation or a more formal commitment entered into publicly."

For more reaction, read: Heartbreak and Hallelujahs as Methodists vote to allow same sex marriage

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