SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The state's high court has prohibited three Southern California parishes who left the U.S. Episcopal Church over its ordination of gay ministers from retaining ownership of their church buildings and property.
In a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that the property belongs to the Episcopal Church because the parishes agreed to abide by the mother church's rules, which include specific language about property ownership.
St. James Church in Newport Beach, All Saints Church in Long Beach and St. David's Church in North Hollywood pulled out of the 2.1 million-member national Episcopal Church in 2004 and sought to retain property ownership.
Since 2003, four dioceses and dozens of individual churches have split, setting off bitter legal feuds over division of property.
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