The Marlow United Reformed Church (URC) will become the first church in the town to offer full marriage services to same-sex couples after a historic vote.

The vote happened after a resolution was passed at the URC general assembly in July 2016, allowing local URCs to register for weddings of same-sex couples.

Local URCs are not obliged to register for same-sex marriages but can ‘opt-in’ if they wish to do so with Marlow’s URC voting to offer the service.

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The first wedding of a same-sex couple could take place for the first time in the town from November 2021.

The Church Minister, the Revd David Downing said he was “delighted” that the majority decided to vote for this service.

He continued: “We see it as a way of showing that God’s love is for all.

“We believe that when a couple makes their marriage vows it reminds us of God’s love for us.

“To be able to offer weddings to opposite and same-sex couples is a great way of celebrating love, especially God’s love.

“In introducing a significant change in the way marriage has been celebrated in church life, we hope that this new development both builds on our traditions and reflects the way we believe God wants Marlow United Reformed Church to be.”

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Same-sex partnerships were first recognised in law in the UK by the Civil Partnerships Act of 2004.

In 2012, The URC general assembly granted consent for local URCs to register civil partnerships in their buildings.

The URC General Assembly decision in 2016 followed legislation in 2013 and 2014 bringing recognition for same-sex marriage into law in England, Wales and Scotland.