The Presbyterian Church has voted to loosen its affiliation with the Church of Scotland over its stance on the issue of same-sex relationships.
As a result, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland will no longer extend an invitation to the head of the Church of Scotland to attend its General Assembly in Belfast.
A vote was taken at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, passing by 255 to 171.
Current Church of Scotland Rev Susan Brown attended the vote, appealing for attendees to reject the motion.
Members also voted to no longer invite the moderator of the United Reformed Church to its General Assembly.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Rev Trevor Gribben said the vote was significant because "it demonstrated that a majority of Assembly members felt that both denominations have drifted far from biblical truth in relation to marriage, and were in fact ignoring the authority of Scripture."
"Both are now moving towards a position where so called same sex marriage can be performed in the context of their worship services. Our Church is very clear that marriage, as defined in God’s Word, is between one man and one woman and significantly it is God’s Word that is authoritative," he said.
After the vote Church of Scotland's Rev Brown expressed disappointment, saying it would drive people away from Christianity.
"To a world which doesn’t understand the nuances of particular theological stances, today’s decision will be yet another reason to stay away from religion and from Christianity in particular," she said.