The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has supported an amendment to ecclesiastical law giving same-sex couples the right to marry.
In a vote on Monday, 274 members voted in favor of the change, while 136 opposed it.
Ministers and clergy will have the opportunity to voluntarily decide whether to participate in a ritual that will put an end to a centuries-old ban.
The moderator of the General Assembly, Reverend Ian Greenschilds, noted that the Church of Scotland is a fairly large church and that there are differing views among church members on the issue of same-sex marriage.
“The Church of Scotland still has differing views on this issue. We have had discussions for years to find a solution that respects diversity and values all faiths,” said the moderator of the General Assembly.
Same-sex couples, activists, and other church groups welcomed the move, but others feared that whether or not they were forced to participate in the ritual would put pastors in a difficult position to oppose same-sex marriage.
Updates on church legislation are planned in the coming days. The words “wife and husband” in the marriage will be replaced by the words “parties”.
With this decision the Church of Scotland became the largest church in the UK to allow same-sex couples to marry.