LONDON: The Church of Scotland voted Saturday to allow its ministers to be in same-sex marriages, following years of deliberation. The national church’s general assembly in Edinburgh voted to extend a law passed last May that permits its ministers to be in same-sex civil partnerships. Commissioners in the Kirk, as the church is known in Scotland, voted 339 to 215 to allow ministers to be in same-sex marriages. “We had a debate which made very clear that we were not interfering with our theological definition of marriage and were not going to the place where ministers or deacons could themselves be conducting same-sex marriages,” said the Very Reverend John Chalmers, principal clerk to the general assembly. “It is an entirely different discussion.” The Kirk retains the traditional view of marriage as being between a man and a woman. However, individual congregations can “opt out” if they wish to appoint a minister in a same-sex marriage.