The rejection of female bishops has upset many in the church and also, it appears, in Parliament - The Guardian 21st November. Also, whilst the church has exemptions under equality law, the move is seen by many as perpetuating unacceptable discrimination. An e-petition has been raised to try to get a debate in Parliament on the issue.
If things are left where they are, a fresh attempt to alter the law cannot be made in the Synod until 2015. However, the church has a procedure which might be used to introduce new draft legislation - C of E statement. An alternative is that Parliament itself acts to alter the law. There is a constitutional convention that Parliament does not alter the law of the church unless the church agrees. However, it is a convention and not strict law and so Parliament could act. If it were to do so, much wider issues such as disestablishing the church would undoubtedly arise.
The C of E has an interesting website with a considerable amount of legal information as to how church "measures" are enacted. They are a form of legislation similar to Acts of Parliament and they have to be approved by Parliament and must receive Royal Assent. HM the Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England. This role is historical - dating back to the reign of Henry VIII and the Act of Supremacy 1534.
It will be particularly interesting to see how this situation develops.
Reflections on Church and State - Law and Lawyers 28th April 2011
Failure to vote in women bishops risks 'constitutional crisis' in Church - Telegraph 26th November.
National Secular Society - Church of England's establishment is well past its sell-by date - 21st November.
National Secular Society - Church and State need to be set free - 22nd November