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CHURCH OF ENGLAND MAY ALLOW FEMALE BISHOPS

LONDON - After decades of debate, the Church of England votes today on whether it will admit women to the ranks of bishops - under a compromise that has angered the faithful on both sides of the argument.

A majority of the governing General Synod is ready to say yes, but that doesn't mean it's all wrapped up. The vote needs a two-thirds majority to be approved.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the church's outgoing leader, has been campaigning for approval with a touch of exasperation: "Enough waiting," he said.

It has been 36 years since the General Synod declared it had no fundamental objection to ordaining women as priests, and 18 years since the first women were ordained. Meanwhile, sister churches of the Anglican Communion in Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa and the United States already have women serving as bishops.

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