HUDDERSFIELD'S female vicar today welcomed the Church of England's vote to allow women to become bishops.
The church was facing a potential split today after the General Synod made the landmark decision.
The move was supported by a majority of bishops and clergy, but there are fears it will open up new divisions.
The Rev Catherine Ogle, of St Peter's Church in Huddersfield town centre, said: "This is an important step in a long process.
"When I was ordained in 1994 only 10% of the clergy were women, now numbers of new vicars are equally split between the sexes.
"This will make it clear that the Holy Spirit does not discriminate."
But she said she respected the views of clergy who did not agree with the move, adding: "In the Church you don't get rid of someone you disagree with, you try to live together and love one another."
A meeting of the Synod in York voted to remove obstacles which prevent women from being ordained as bishops after almost four hours of impassioned debate.
Equal rights campaigners have welcomed the controversial move, but opponents of the plan said it could lead to "deeper disagreements".