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Virginia Bill would alter Rules on Church Property
02 February 2005

By Rosalind Helderman and Alan Cooperman

Washington Post

A bill before the Virginia Senate has alarmed the Episcopal Church which is deeply torn over the ordination of gay ministers and the blessing of same-sex marriages because, they say, the measure would give local congregations unprecedented powers to break away from their national denominations.

The bill (Bill 1305), now on the Senate floor, would allow congregations to vote to leave their denominations and keep their church buildings and land, unless a legally binding document such as a deed specified otherwise.

Many denominations have long had rules that prevent dissenting congregations from leaving the parent church and taking their land, buildings and other property with them. Since 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous other courts have upheld those rules in all but a few exceptional circumstances.

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Washington Post


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