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CNN — The United Methodist Church overturned its 40-year ban on gay clergy Wednesday, marking a historic shift in the church’s stance on homosexuality.

The church has long been divided into factions over LGBTQ inclusion and even weighed splitting into two separate churches over the issue, CNN previously reported.

In 1984, the church banned “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from becoming members of the clergy, and later added performing or celebrating same-sex unions to “a list of chargeable offenses that could result in a church trial,” according to a timeline of the church’s history with the LGBTQ community.

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Andy Oliver, left, and David Meredith wipe away tears after the United Methodist Church voted to repeal the church’s ban on LGBTQ clergy on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Chris Carlson/AP

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