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Women Bishops Blocked–Barely–by Lay Leaders Despite Clergy Support

Church of England unable to muster two-thirds vote despite support of Rowan Williams and Justin Welby.
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(Update: The Church of England plans to vote again on women bishops next year.)

Today, conservative lay leaders in the Church of England narrowly succeeded (by a six-vote margin) in defeating a historic measure that would have allowed women clergy to serve as bishops.

A majority (132-74) voted in favor of women bishops but failed to reach the two-thirds vote required in the House of Laity in the General Synod of the Church of England. The synod's other two bodies–the House of Clergy (148-45) and the House of Bishops (44-3)–voted by a sufficient margin to approve women as bishops. (Women are already permitted to serve as priests.) Approval in all three houses is required by canon law.

The matter may not come to another vote for five years. Some who opposed the measure were looking for much stronger language–a conscience clause–protecting those churches, bishops, clergy, and lay leaders who do not approve of women as bishops, based on their biblical and theological convictions.

The BBC reported:

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