Virginia Supreme Court rules against Anglican conservatives
The Virginia Supreme Court has overturned a judge’s decision allowing congregations that broke away from the Episcopal Church to keep their property, and sent the case back to Fairfax County Circuit Court . Charles Fishburne reports.
The Court struck a blow to Anglican conservatives who split from the Episcopal Church after it installed an openly gay bishop.
Tobias: Some of the biggest and oldest congregations, I think, in the United States.
Carl Tobias, Law Professor at the University of Richmond, says the unanimous decision won’t end the dispute, it simply found that an 1867 statute governing how properties are divided when churches split was wrongly applied and it avoided constitutional issues.
Tobias: But it seems to me this will just mean that the Circuit Court has to weigh into then, in order to apply the real property and contract law.
Though the legal issues are particular to Virginia, the case is being watched by Anglicans worldwide and other groups battling over how to interpret scripture.
Tobias: It seems unlikely that there is much middle ground for settlement.
And though it is now local and a long way from the U.S. Supreme Court Tobias says, it is also a long way from being settled.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News.