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United Methodist Church repeals ban on gay clergy, same-sex marriage

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The United Methodist Church, which has some 10 million members around the world, repealed on Wednesday a ban on ordaining gay clergy and same-sex marriage.

Church leadership, at a conference held in North Carolina, approved the moves in a 692-51 vote.

The church removed its 1984 ban on the ordination of clergy who are “self-avowing practicing homosexuals.”

It also decided that clergy who perform same-sex marriages will not be subject to any penalties. Neither will clergy or churches which refuse to hold same-sex weddings.

“Delegates and observers applauded after the vote,” the church news agency said.

“Many hugged and more than a few cried, in a mass release of joy for those who had pushed, some for decades, to make The United Methodist Church fully inclusive,” it added.

The LGBTQ moves have not been without controversy. Thousands of more conservative United Methodist congregations have left the denomination in the past few years over the issue.

About half of the church’s global membership is in the United States.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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