Methodist Conference receives report on same-sex marriage

  • Photo of Susan Howdle presenting the report to the Conferencehere

The Methodist Church has committed to a two year period oflistening, reflecting and discernment following the legislation ofsame-sex marriage in England, Wales and Scotland earlier this year.A report exploring the issues around same-sex marriage was broughtby a working party to the Methodist Conference meeting today inBirmingham.

The Methodist Church, in line with scripture and traditionalteaching, believes that marriage is a gift of God and that it isGod's intention that a marriage should be a life-long union inbody, mind and spirit of one man and one woman. The MethodistConference did not vote on changing this understanding, or 'optingin' so as to permit Methodist Church buildings to be registered forsame-sex marriage ceremonies or Methodist ministers to beauthorised to conduct them.

The Conference resolved that its previous ruling that there was noreason per se to prevent anyone within the Church, ordained or lay,from entering into or remaining within a civil partnership, shouldalso extend to those entering into legally contracted same-sexmarriages.

The Conference agreed revised guidelines that will allow localchurches and ministers to consider the appropriate pastoralresponse to requests for prayers and blessings of same-sexcouples.

The Conference directed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusioncommittee to work on the production and dissemination of clearguidance on what is to be regarded as homophobia.

Susan Howdle, chair of the Church's working party on same-sexmarriage and civil partnerships, said: "We are very grateful to allthose people who have contributed to our work as we have exploredtogether issues which have deep significance for the personal livesof so many people and for the life and mission of the church. We appreciate too the spirit in which the Conference has nowdealt with our report, and trust that the Methodist people willrespond 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 MethodistConference to oversee the two-year period of reflection concerningrelationships and living with difference, and to report to theConference in 2016. 


  1. The Church's 1993 resolutions on human sexuality  can beread here.
  2. The Conference report on same-sex marriage can be read here. The revised guidelines can be found on page 478.
  3. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 covers England andWales. The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act coversScotland.