December 1st, 2017
From a talk given by Hilary Cotton to London WATCH on 15th June 2009
1. Where are we in the process?
The proposals on the table are draft legislation that would allow women to be bishops, and includes arrangements for those who will not accept them, or who will still not accept women priests. These proposals are currently being looked at by a General Synod Revision Committee, who are discussing a large number of amendments suggested from all quarters of the Church. They will bring revised proposals to General Synod next February (2010); Synod may ask them to revise them some more. Once Synod is happy then the proposals go for debate at Diocesan Synods; they then come back to General Synod for final approval, then are presented to Parliament for approval. Finally they receive Royal Assent and General Synod signs them off
2. The Church of England claims exemption from the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act (under section 19), and will claim a similar exemption from the Equality Bill currently before Parliament. WATCH is working with our Parliamentary supporters to challenge whether the Established church should continue to be exempt from such equality legislation, but we don't expect that to change imminently.
3. In all that I say I aim to remember that those who think that women should not/cannot be bishops are trying just as hard as we are to be faithful.
Why are the Proposals as they are?
General Synod has said three times that it believes that it is the will of the Church of England for women to be allowed to be bishops (in July 2005, 2006, 2008). So the principle is established. However, in the debates at Synod it was clear that Synod was saying 'Yes, but...'
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