The Church of England voted Thursday in favor of blessings for civilly married same-sex couples.
Following a passionate debate lasting over eight hours, the national assembly of the Church Of England, the General Synod, approved a proposal designed to resolve disputes surrounding sexuality, according to BBC. The final vote was 250 in favor to 181 opposed, Catholic News Agency reported.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said the church is in a “better place today” after the measure passed. “I’m really pleased that we will now be able to bless same-sex couples who are faithfully living in a civil partnership, in church,” he told BBC.
Conservatives objected to the move, with the Church of England Evangelical Council saying it was “deeply saddened” by the results of the vote. “The Church now appears set on a course of action that rejects our historic and biblical understanding of sex and marriage,” a council representative told BBC. (RELATED: Church Of England Toys With Idea Of They/Them God)
Voters who opposed same-sex blessings did manage to pass an amendment stating that the new prayers of blessing “should not be contrary to or indicative of a departure from” church doctrine, BBC noted.
Under the new policy, Church of England clergy can bless same-sex civil marriages but cannot perform same-sex weddings.