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England to approve gay bishops

June 19, 2011 at 11:55 PM   |   Comments

YORK, England, June 19 (UPI) -- The Church of England is set to approve the appointment of openly gay bishops, officials say.

The church, in an effort to clarify its policy on gay clergy members, will publish its advice Monday, The Guardian reported.

Choosing Bishops -- The Equality Act 2010, outlines the nomination process and things to keep in mind while considering candidates.

"A person's sexual orientation is in itself irrelevant to their suitability for episcopal office or indeed ordained ministry" given the clergy member has been celibate during priesthood, the document says. However, the document goes on to say a committee can veto a nomination if "the appointment of the candidate would cause division and disunity within the diocese in question."

The debate surrounding the document, to be presented in July to the General Synod in York, has mostly involved Jeffery John, a celibate priest who was forced to stand down after being appointed suffragan bishop of Reading eight years ago because of objections from conservative evangelicals, and was again prevented from becoming the bishop of Southwark last year.

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