London (AFP) - A Church of Scotland decision on whether to allow the ordination of married gay ministers was delayed on Thursday to allow wider consultation.
The Church's presbyteries, or local areas, will now be asked to vote on the issue before it can be approved.
The Church's General Assembly in Edinburgh had been due to vote on the matter on Thursday.
On Saturday it voted to allow the ordination of ministers in same-sex civil partnerships, in a move seen as a breakthrough for gay rights.
If a majority of presbyteries vote in favour of extending this to ministers in same sex marriages, a final decision will be made next year.
"The General Assembly understood this to be a logical extension of the benefits which accrue to those in civil partnership," said David Arnott, coordinator of the principal clerk's office.
"Out of a pastoral concern for the whole Church the General Assembly decided to pass this Overture to the presbyteries who will report to the Assembly in May 2016."