The Scottish Episcopal Church has voted to allow same-sex marriages.
Needing a two-thirds majority to pass, 80 percent of the church’s bishops and laity voted in favour of the change as well as 68 percent of the clergy.
“I am very pleased for the couples who can now have their relationships recognised by the church and blessed by God,” the Episcopal Church’s Bishop of Edinburgh, the Right Reverend Dr. John Armes, said in an interview with BBC.
The vote amended church rules to remove the stipulation that marriage must be between a man and a woman. It also includes a conscience clause stating that priests may refuse to marry a same-sex couple.
“In light of the fact that there are differing understandings of marriage in this church,” the clause reads, “no cleric of this church shall be obliged to conduct any marriage against their conscience.”
While gay marriage has been legal in Scotland since 2014, many still object to marriage between same-sex couples.
“The attempt to redefine marriage is not one that a faithful Christian can support,” Archbishop Foley Beach, a senior member of the group, said in an interview with BBC.