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Episcopal Church Votes to approve Religious Same Sex Marriage

General ConventionJust days after the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, leaders of the U.S. Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to allow clergy to wed same-sex couples.

The decision once again puts the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion at the forefront of mainstream Christian acceptance of gays and lesbians.

Presented at the church's triennial General Assembly on Wednesday, the resolution strikes the words "man and woman" from a marriage canon and replaces them with gender-neutral language.

Clergy, however, will not be compelled to perform same-sex marriages under the resolution. A clause in the revised canon states it "shall be within the discretion of any member of the clergy of this church to decline to solemnize or bless any marriage."

The vote on Wednesday represents the latest move by the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, which claims roughly 2 million members, to embrace the LGBT community.

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