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No women bishops: The House of Lords petition

Sophie Herdman
By Sophie Herdman Published on 22 November 2012

Remember Tuesday? Yes all of two days ago. It was a day that something important happened. The Church of England voted that women weren't allowed to be bishops. Yep, despite the fact that women have been allowed to be priests for 20 years, they were told it was a no no when it came to being bishops.

No women bishops The House of Lords petition

In fact, it was a very close vote. 74% of the votes were for women bishops (we explained why that still lead to a no outcome here). Many members of the church have spoken out about their embarrassment over this sexist, backwards vote.

Now while this is a totally ridiculous decision, you could still argue that the Church of England can do what they want. Who are we to make the decision for them?

That's a fine argument until you consider this - 26 bishops are automatically given a seat in the House of Lords. And seeing as women definitely can't be bishops that means 26 seats are reserved just for men. So 26 men get to automatically have a say over legislature. That seems a bit off right?

As Red magazine editor Sam Baker pointed out, that's sex discrimination. And guess what? There's a law against that.

This is where Lee Chalmers steps in. The development coach has set up a government petition not to force the Church of England to have women bishops (you can't do that), but to say if the Church of England won't allow women to be bishops, then they shouldn't be allowed to sit in the House of Lords. They shouldn't have a say on legislature. She needs 100,000 signatures for it to be considered by the government.

Writing in the Huffington post, Lee said: "However you feel about the question of there being seats in the House of Lords for bishops at all, it is clear that there being legislative seats reserved for men only is an anathema to British equality laws and plain, good sense in this day and age.....imagine the national and international reaction if these were seats for white people only."

As I write this, she has 3,354 signatures - and the petition was only set it up yesterday. That's a great reaction, but she still needs a lot more signatures.

So if you've worked out that, hey, women should have the same opportunities as men, and that really it's totally wrong to allow men, but not women, to hold these seats in government, then please sign this petition. It takes less than a minute!


by Sophie Herdman

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