The Uniting Church in Australia will continue to allow ministers the right to decide whether to marry same-sex couples following a vote in South Australia.
Last year, the church's national council agreed to give individual ministers and celebrants the choice to marry same-sex couples.
However, conservative members of the church pushed for the national assembly to reconsider its decision.
Six Uniting Church presbyteries — councils which have oversight over regional ministries and congregations — requested further consultation.
A deciding vote made on Saturday by the South Australian presbytery was 51 to 49 per cent in favour of not referring the issue back to the national assembly.
"It was right down the middle," Reverend Sue Ellis, moderator of the Uniting Church in SA, said.
"We were looking for at least a 67 per cent majority [to refer the issue back to the national assembly] and it was nowhere near that."
Under church rules, if enough presbyteries requested further consultation within six months of the decision being made, same-sex marriages would have been suspended while a review was undertaken.
The Uniting Church said presbyteries in the Northern Territory and Queensland referred the matter to thenational assembly, deeming it a matter "vital to the life of the church".
"Across the whole of Australia most people don't see that this is vital to the life of the church," Reverend Ellis said.
"Only a few have said it's vital to the life of the church."
Reverend Ellis said she was prepared to marry any couple who wanted God's blessing, but that ministers still had the right to choose. Source