In response to the vote Frank Field MP, a former member of the Synod, today tabled a Presentation Bill in Parliament which seeks to remove from the statute book the exemptions from the Equality legislation that the Church of England enjoys. If passed, the Bill would make it illegal for the Church of England to discriminate against women when appointing bishops, as they currently do.
Frank Field said: “This is a terribly disappointing result, which goes against the firm wishes of the vast majority of Church of England members. Parliament has a role in agreeing to or rejecting the Synod’s decisions, and I believe that MPs should now use this role, in a helpful way, to ensure those firm wishes are complied with.”
The Bill is supported by Diana Johnson, Natascha Engel, Elfyn Llwyd, Andrew George, Nicholas Soames, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Eleanor Laing and Helen Goodman.
The second reading of the Bill will take place on January 18th 2013.
*Tabling a Bill in the UK: to table means to move to place [the topic] upon the table (or to move to place on the table): a proposal to begin consideration (or reconsideration) of a proposal.
Bishops plan to meet December 10-11 according to the Bishop of Gloucester.
What will the next steps be in this process? The House of Bishops meets on 10th and 11th December and this will be the main item on our agenda. Papers are being prepared for that meeting scoping possible ways forward. These will, I think, include the possibility of bringing something back within the lifetime of this Synod though all sides acknowledge that fresh thinking is needed. As you will see from the voting figures, the Bishops of the Church of England are very largely of a common mind on the question and I think very determined to press forward and to offer clear and determined leadership. However it will be some weeks before we reach a conclusion on what the next steps will be.
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