Almost half the lay people who, last year, voted against legislation to allow female bishops in the Church of England were women, voting records have shown.
Figures released by Church House show that 33 of the 74 General Synod lay members who voted ‘no’ were women. A report in the Guardian said most of the gainsayers are affiliated to the conservative evangelical group Reform or traditional Anglo-Catholic movement Forward in Faith.
Susie Leafe, a member of Reform, insisted the strong showing from female lay members was not surprising.
She said, ‘This is not an issue of sexism. It is an issue of theological conviction — and conviction crosses across the genders. As I read the Bible, I am convicted that men and women are equal and different. I am not surprised at all’.
The legislation, which needed a two-thirds majority in each of the Synod’s three houses, was passed in the house of bishops and clergy, but the laity voted it down by six votes.