Breakaway Diocese of South Carolina petitions US Supreme Court


The Charleston Post & Courier reports that the breakaway Diocese of South Carolina has petitioned the US Supreme Court.

The disassociated Diocese of South Carolina, which left The Episcopal Church in 2012 and sued to retain its name and property, lost its battle in the state courts in August last year when the Supreme Court issued a set of five opinions that, overall, favored The Episcopal Church and its remaining diocese.

According to that ruling, the disassociated diocese would have to relinquish 29 church buildings. (A separate federal case will determine the fate of intellectual property.)

But Diocese of South Carolina officials soon indicated they would petition the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to overturn the state court decision, and on Friday, Feb. 9, that’s just what they did.

In its petition the breakaway diocese asserts,

The persistent confusion over the meaning of Jones and the neutral-principles approach has resulted in polar-opposite outcomes in materially indistinguishable cases, creating enormous—and enormously expensive —uncertainty for this country’s religious institutions.
Case outcomes turn on courts’ differing interpretations of Jones and the First Amendment, not on how the parties have arranged their affairs under state law. This case could have been easily resolved under ordinary state trust and property law. Instead, the parties and the property have been mired in litigation since 2013. Several years and millions of dollars later, Petitioners seek this Court’s review.

The loyal diocese — known as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina pending the outcome of the federal case involving intellectual property — links to the breakaway’s SCOTUS filing on its legal news page. That diocese has 30 days to file a response although can also file for a 30 day extension. The petitioner may file a reply. Of the many petitions to the Supreme Court each year, few are accepted for hearing by the Court.

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Robert Heylmun
Robert Heylmun

Since the renegade Diocese of South Carolina chooses to deny religious freedom to a considerable portion of the population by forbidding same-sex marriage, it has already violated one amendment to the Constitution. Now to appeal to the Supreme Court to uphold its bias and prejudice and keep its property, which by the way doesn't belong to it, is outrageous to say the least, and shows a contempt for the country's laws and courts.

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