The Methodist Church has launched a consultation on the implications of same sex marriage legislation for the denomination.
The Methodist Conference asked a working group to look at the implications of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act for the Methodist Church back in July 2013.
The group's task is to report on whether the Conference should embark on a process of reviewing the Church's position on marriage and on civil partnerships. The consultation is open to Methodists and will run until early February.
Susan Howdle, chair of the same sex marriage and civil partnership working party, said: "The working party has begun its consultations by meeting a few pilot groups as well as having very lively conversations at 3Generate 2013 Children's and Youth Assembly. From this, we have begun to identify some of the key implications which the legislation poses for our Church. We are now embarking on wider consultation, trying to fulfill our brief to be as open and inclusive as possible."
Following agreement by the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent on 17 July. The Act makes provision for the marriage of same-sex couples in England and Wales.
Susan Howdle continued: "We do urge as many Methodists as possible to respond, thoughtfully and prayerfully, to the consultation in order to help us to gauge the mind of the Church. We hope the time scale will allow at least some of the responses to be from groups who have met for discussion, but individual responses are equally welcome."
The Methodist Church's official position is that marriage is a gift of God and that it is God's intention that a marriage should be a life-long union in body, mind and spirit of one man and one woman.