The Church of Norway has voted 88 to 32 to allow gay people to be married in church, following almost two decades of debate on the controversial issue.

English-language Norwegian media The Local reported on Monday that The Bishops' Conference approved the vote.

"For my part, and the thousands who I represent here, the disappointment, sorrow and uncertainty is great. Disappointment and sadness because today we are introducing a doctrine that a unified diocese called heresy in 1997. This goes against the Bible and Jesus's word on marriage," said Rolf Magne Haukalid, one of the opponents of the Norwegian church sanctifying gay marriage, according to NRK.

The chairman of the Oslo diocesan council, Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, offered an opposing view at the conference in Trondheim, however, saying:

"This is a big day for me, for Åpen folkekirke (Open people's church, ed.) and for the Church of Norway. Finally we will celebrate love regardless of whom one loves."

Although the proposal to add gay people to the definition of marriage had been rejected every time in the past, including the last time it was brought up in 2014, there had been growing support for the position, with 15 of 23 committee members stating before the conference that gay marriage should be allowed.

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