Judge Rules Breakaway Episcopal Church Belongs To Parrish
August 16, 2005
Breakaway Church Belongs to Parish, Judge Rules By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 5:34 p.m. ET
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- A judge has ruled that the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles cannot confiscate the property of a congregation that has broken with the diocese and national denomination to protest consecration of a gay bishop.
Orange County Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez dismissed a lawsuit Monday brought by the diocese against the dissident St. James Church in Newport Beach, saying the parish's actions were protected by freedom of speech.
The significant ruling means that St. James retains legal possession of its buildings, other property and financial records. Attorney Lawrence Ebiner said the diocese hasn't decided whether to appeal.
The ruling comes at a point when Episcopal congregations in other states have been leaving the denomination over the gay issue or are considering doing so...
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