20 November 2012
The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to reject
the draft legislation to allow women to become bishops.
Under the requirements of the Synod the legislation required a
two-thirds majority in each of the three voting houses for final
draft approval. Whilst more than two thirds voted for the
legislation in both the House of Bishops (44-03) and the House of
Clergy (148-45), the vote in favour of the legislation in the House
of Laity was less than two-thirds (132-74). The vote in the House
of Laity fell short of approval by six votes.
In total 324 members of the General Synod voted to approve the
legislation and 122 voted to reject it.
The consequence of the "no" vote of terminating any further
consideration of the draft legislation means that it will not be
possible to introduce draft legislation in the same terms until a
new General Synod comes into being in 2015, unless the 'Group of
Six' (the Archbishops, the Prolocutors and the Chair and Vice Chair
of the House of Laity) give permission and report to the Synod why
they have done so.
Speaking after the vote the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of
Norwich, said: "A clear majority of the General Synod today
voted in favour of the legislation to consecrate women as Bishops.
But the bar of approval is set very high in this Synod. Two-thirds
of each house has to approve the legislation for it to pass. This
ensures the majority is overwhelming. The majority in the house of
laity was not quite enough. This leaves us with a problem. 42 out
of 44 dioceses approved the legislation and more than three
quarters of members of diocesan synods voted in favour. There will
be many who wonder why the General Synod expressed its mind so
"The House of Bishops recognises that the Church of England has
expressed its mind that women should be consecrated as bishops.
There is now an urgent task to find a fresh way forward to which so
many of those who were opposed have pledged themselves."
The House of Bishops of the Church of England will meet at
08.30am on Wednesday morning in emergency session to consider the
consequences of the vote.
Exact voting figures will be found here