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The UK Methodist Church has voted in favour to change the definition of matrimony in a historic ruling.

Following the vote, Methodists will now be able to have same-sex marriages. The previous definition of marriage catered to male and female couples.

On Wednesday (June 30), delegates at the Methodist Conference voted to support the historic change. The vote swung heavily in favour with 254 votes in favour and 46 rejections.

The broader definition of marriage states “a lifelong union in body, mind and spirit of two people who freely enter into it.”

The Methodist Church has expanded the definition to cater to a wider demographic of people and represent greater views.

Following a resolution adopted this week about marriage, as LGBTQ Nation reports, an explanation was offered in reference to the view of marriage under The Methodist Church.

“Within the Methodist Church this is understood in two ways: that marriage can only be between a man and a woman; that marriage can be between any two people. The Methodist Church affirms both understandings and makes provision in its Standing Orders for them.”

Rev Sonia Hicks told the conference: “In a world where people are excluded because of their ethnic background, their sexual orientation, their gender or simply because, like me, they were brought up on a council estate, I believe that we are called to show God’s love for all people.”

The Methodist Church has an estimated 164,000 members in more than 4,000 churches, making Methodism the UK’s fourth-largest Christian denomination.

Currently, same-sex marriage is accepted by the Quakers in Britain, the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, the Scottish Episcopal Church and United Reformed Church.

However, it is not yet permitted or recognised by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic church.

Speaking to the BBC, Rev. Sam McBratney, expressed gratitude for the “momentous step on the road to justice”.

The Rev added: “We are so grateful to our fellow Methodists for taking this courageous step to recognize and affirm the value and worth of LGBTQ+ relationships,” he said.

“We reassure those who do not support this move that we want to continue to work and worship with you in the Church we all love.”