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Church of England postpones vote on ordaining female bishops

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Holly Peacock
WVoN co-editor 

Following a campaign by women in the Church of England, the General Synod has postponed a vote (due yesterday) on the legislation ordaining women to become bishops.

The controversy around the legislation arose from amendments that allowed parishes and members of the clergy who opposed the ordination of female bishops to “opt out” from it (see WVoN story).

Although the legislation might have represented a step forward, the ‘compromise’ version was seen as underpinning discriminatory, sexist, beliefs.

The Venerable Rachel Treweek, archdeacon of Hackney, explained her struggle with not voting in favour of the legislation:

“I feel I have to hold the line of my integrity. It would be very easy to say: ‘Oh, let’s all just vote in favour and get this through.’… But I think it’s very unlikely that I would press the yes button because of that place of integrity.”

The Guardian reported that the archbishop of Canterbury has claimed that the house of bishops had not succeeded in finding a suitable compromise that satisfies all.

In light of the dispute, the Genreal Synod has instead voted to delay a final vote on the issue until at least November.

The next steps will see the house of bishops meet in September to review the issue and it is there they will decide if further amendments/retractions will be made.

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