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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 14:48 GMT
Church leaders vote for women bishops
Ripon Cathedral
The diocese already has a large number of women vicars
Church leaders across North and West Yorkshire have voted by a large majority to allow women to become bishops.

Members of the Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synod voted by 70-18 to allow women bishops "without further delay".

The decision at the Harrogate conference will put pressure on the Church of England General Synod to speed up the process which will lead to a full debate on allowing women to become bishops.

The successful motion was tabled by Canon Penny Driver, who looks after parishioners in Sharow, near Ripon.

Canon Driver told the meeting: "We need both male and female bishops just as we have male and female priests, deacons and laity."

Father Timothy Lipscomb, the Area Dean of Armley, was one of a number of speakers who opposed the motion saying it would cause division and hurt, demoralising further a "demoralised church".

He added that traditionalists opposed to the move would "either resign, become Roman Catholics or disappear into obscurity, disillusioned and broken."

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