January 31, 2011

MPs support ordination of women bishops

by Jan Harris

A group of MPs is calling for the government to make gender discrimination laws applicable to the issue of the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England.

This controversial issue has led some Anglican clergy and worshippers to leave the Church of England to join a newly established section of the Catholic Church called the Ordinariate.

The MPs, led by form Labour MP Frank Field, are concerned that the Synod, which is due to make a decision on the issue in July 2012, could stop women from becoming bishops because the Church is exempt from equality laws on gender discrimination.

Mr Field has submitted an Early Day Motion signed by a group of MPs from all parties including Simon Hughes, David Blunkett, Diana Johnson, Stephen Timms, Natascha Engel and Sir Peter Bottomley.

The motion “encourages the House of Bishops to commend the measure as currently drafted; and calls upon Her Majesty’s government to remove any exemptions pertaining to gender under existing equality legislation, in the event that the measure has overwhelming support in the dioceses but fails through a technicality to receive final approval in General Synod”.

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