Church of England bishops announced on Friday they would review their policies on gay unions and openly gay clergy, the BBC reported.

The bishops said for the time being priests in civil partnerships (civil unions) are barred from being appointed as bishops.

“To avoid pre-empting the outcome of the review the House has concluded that clergy in civil partnerships should not, at present, be nominated for episcopal appointment,” the bishops wrote.

The review of gay clergy would be completed next year, while a broader look at the church's stance on homosexuality is to be completed in 2 years.

“Secondly, the House has committed itself to a wider look at the Church of England's approach to same-sex relationships more generally in the light of the listening process launched by the Lambeth Conference in 1998. The Bishops will produce a consultation document in 2013. The House's decision is motivated by a desire to help shape the continuing debate constructively and not by any view about what the outcome should be.”

Episcopalians created a deep divide between the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, of which the Church of England is the “Mother Church,” and its more liberal American branch, the Episcopal Church, when they ordained Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Robinson lives in Weare with his husband Mark Andrew. Episcopalians are also moving toward blessing gay unions.