Discuss as:

Church of England votes against allowing women bishops

Yui Mok / Pool via AP

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, center right, embraces an unidentified person after draft legislation introducing the first women bishops in the Church of England failed to receive final approval from the Church of England General Synod, at Church House in central London, on Nov. 20.

The Church of England voted on Tuesday against legislation that would have allowed the ordination of women bishops, the culmination of more than 10 years of divisive debate.

The General Synod, the legislative body of the Church which is made up of separate houses for bishops, clergy and laity, failed to reach the two-thirds majority required in all three houses to pass the measure.

"It was carried in the house of bishops and clergy, but lost in the house of laity. The motion having been lost ... we do not proceed any further," said Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

Women already serve as Anglican bishops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, but the Church of England, mother church for the world's 80 million Anglicans, has struggled to reconcile the dispute between reformers and traditionalists on whether to allow them in England.

Church of England to vote on women bishops

The Church had already voted to allow women bishops in theory but Tuesday's vote, on provisions to be made for conservatives theologically opposed to senior women clergy, needed to pass before women could be enthroned as Anglican bishops in England.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Women clergy and others line up for the public gallery outside Church House on Nov. 20 in London.

More world stories from NBC News:

Follow World News from NBCNews.com on Twitter and Facebook