The Church of England voted today to allow female bishops — a historic decision that ends decades of debate and “overturns centuries of tradition,” according to the BBC.

The majority of the General Synod, the church’s top legislative body, voted in favor of the measure. In order to be adopted, two-thirds of all three synod cohorts needed to embrace the change.

In the end, the House of Bishops voted 37 to 2, the House of Clergy’s tally was 162 to 25 and the House of Laity approved the amendment 152 to 45, the Huffington Post reported.

Delegates discuss issues during the afternoon session of the annual Church of England General Synod at York University on July 13, 2014 in York, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Women have been allowed to serve as priests in the denomination since 1994, but have battled for the right to become bishops since that time. Female bishops will likely be ordained later on this year.

According to the BBC, parishes that do not wish to serve under a female bishop can ask for a male alternative and can take their grievances to an arbitrator.

TheBlaze reported last July that the clergy debate was intense and that members were unhappy with the General Synod’s previous inability to draft a plan to allow female bishops.

“At its meeting in York the House of Bishops of the Church of England has committed itself to publishing new ways forward to enable women to become bishops,” the church said in a statement issued last year.

Communion goblets sit in York Minster during a Eucharist Service attended by the Church of England Synod on July 13, 2014 in York, England. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Church of England has been open about the internal and public debate, even publishing comments about it on its official website. A church-composed history on the issue can be read here. 

It was widely expected that the church would approve the change, considering that the General Synod faced parliamentary action if it voted down the proposal.

Church head Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, had also planned to call for new elections if the measure was rejected, the Guardian noted.

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.

(H/T: Telegraph)