INDIANAPOLIS - The US Episcopal Church on Tuesday approved a liturgy for clergy to use in blessing same-sex unions, including gay marriages in states where they are legal, becoming the largest U.S. religious denomination to approve such a ritual.

Delegates to its triennial convention voted 171-50 to approve the liturgy, titled "the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant." Episcopal bishops had voted overwhelmingly on Monday in favor of the text.

The US Episcopal Church, part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is the 14th largest US religious denomination, with about 2 million members, according to the National Council of Churches.

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