In this article we discuss the recent history of the failed draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure, situating this within the broader context of the ordination of women and debates around the Equality Act exceptions for an organised religion. We aim to provide an account of the ways in which equality rights have been implemented in the relevant law; how the Church of England is responding to these rights; and how broader society understands the importance of gender equality and reacts to Synod's rejection of the draft Measure. We analyse these with reference to theories of heteronormativity and scholarship of human rights. In doing so, we aim to explain what is happening in the Church of England and broader society, and draw some conclusions about the current opportunities open to the Church and the state in matters of rights and equality.1
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