CA parish has tentative victory vs. diocese
"A judge tentatively ruled Thursday that a Newport Beach parish that left the Episcopal Diocese in a dispute over a gay bishop's ordination is the rightful owner of its building and property. Superior Court Judge David Velasquez delayed a final decision until Monday, when he will hear more arguments. His initial ruling sided with attorneys for St. James Church in Newport Beach who argued that a lawsuit in which the Episcopal Diocese is seeking control of the property interfered with St. James parishioners' freedom of speech.
The judge said the church had initially demonstrated that "they are being sued for acts arising from ... their publicly expressed disagreement with the church's views concerning the consecration of homosexual clergy ... " He also found that the church owned the property and that it was not being held in "trust" for the diocese.The diocese contends that it is only trying to get its property back, and that the case has nothing to do with free speech. But the judge indicated it was unlikely the diocese would prevail in trial.
St. James announced it was placing itself under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in Uganda because of a rift over V. Gene Robinson - a gay priest in a relationship with another man - being elected bishop by the Diocese of New Hampshire."
Read the whole story here.