There are 26 Church of England bishops sitting in the House of Lords as of right. They have been there since the time of Henry VIII - a constitutional set-up that leaves us in the inglorious company of Iran... and very few others.
Several members of the House of Lords were probably already in bed by the time their colleagues voted last night to allow the use of religious elements in same-sex civil partnerships. But those of us who have long waited for this vote were wide awake.
In a dramatic development, the House of Lords has voted to allow the use of religious premises and religious language in same-sex partnerships. Peers voted in favour of the proposal by 93 votes to 21, despite government opposition.
Senior Church of England bishops in the House of Lords say that they will now support an amendment to the Equality Bill to lift the ban on civil partnership ceremonies taking place on religious premises.