A JUDGE in the legal wrangle between the realigned Diocese of
South Carolina and the Episcopal Church in the United States has
ruled that the separated diocese can keep church property worth
$500 million, and retain its name.
The diocese left the Episcopal Church in 2012, after years of
disagreements over issues including homosexuality and gay bishops.
It then filed a lawsuit against the Episcopal Church to retain the
diocese's property, name, and other assets (News, 8 August
In a ruling on Tuesday, the Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein
said that the diocese had the right to leave, and she rejected the
Episcopal Church's argument that it had legal interest in the
She said in her ruling that, although freedom of association is
a fundamental right, "with the freedom to associate goes its
corollary: the freedom to disassociate."
Thomas Tisdale, the Diocesan Chancellor for the Episcopal Church
in South Carolina - which includes 30 parishes and mission churches
still affiliated with the national Church - said that the judge's
decision was not unexpected, and that his group would push for an