Methodist Conference receives report on same-sex marriage
02 July 2014
- Photo of Susan Howdle presenting the report to the Conference
The Methodist Church has committed to a two year period of
listening, reflecting and discernment following the legislation of
same-sex marriage in England, Wales and Scotland earlier this year.
A report exploring the issues around same-sex marriage was brought
by a working party to the Methodist Conference meeting today in
The Methodist Church, in line with scripture and traditional
teaching, believes that marriage is a gift of God and that it is
God's intention that a marriage should be a life-long union in
body, mind and spirit of one man and one woman. The Methodist
Conference did not vote on changing this understanding, or 'opting
in' so as to permit Methodist Church buildings to be registered for
same-sex marriage ceremonies or Methodist ministers to be
authorised to conduct them.
The Conference resolved that its previous ruling that there was no
reason per se to prevent anyone within the Church, ordained or lay,
from entering into or remaining within a civil partnership, should
also extend to those entering into legally contracted same-sex
The Conference agreed revised guidelines that will allow local
churches and ministers to consider the appropriate pastoral
response to requests for prayers and blessings of same-sex
The Conference directed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
committee to work on the production and dissemination of clear
guidance on what is to be regarded as homophobia.
Susan Howdle, chair of the Church's working party on same-sex
marriage and civil partnerships, said: "We are very grateful to all
those people who have contributed to our work as we have explored
together issues which have deep significance for the personal lives
of so many people and for the life and mission of the church.
We appreciate too the spirit in which the Conference has now
dealt with our report, and trust that the Methodist people will
respond similarly to the call to engage with each other honestly,
prayerfully and graciously about these matters."
A new working party was appointed today by the Methodist
Conference to oversee the two-year period of reflection concerning
relationships and living with difference, and to report to the
Conference in 2016.
- The Church's 1993 resolutions on human sexuality can be
- The Conference report on same-sex marriage can be read
here. The revised guidelines can be found on page 478.
- The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 covers England and
Wales. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act covers