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lindagray

Women and Gays in the Church of England

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In 1992, the Church of England voted to ordain women as priests. This decision sparked debate within the clerical community but also opened the door for further empowerment of women within the church hierarchy.

Over the next few years, several attempts to allow women to become bishops were put in place, but many of them were squashed by the opposition.

Finally, in 2014, the Church passed a bill to consecrate women as bishops. The archbishops of Canterbury and of York—the church’s most elite officials—approved the bill later that year. The first female bishop of the Church of England, Rev. Libby Lane, was consecrated in January 2015.

Since 2005, the Church of England has allowed for the ordination of gay priests, under the condition that they remain celibate. Homosexuals in celibate civil unions were permitted to become bishops in 2013.

Also, in 2013, the House of Commons passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriages but didn’t allow the Church of England to perform them.

Many consider the Church of England’s elevation of women and gays in the clergy as groundbreaking and long-awaited progress. Others in the church view it as sacrilegious and blasphemous.

While the debate continues, experts agree that the Church of England has paved the way for conversations about expanding gender and sexual-orientation roles within Christianity.

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