A Virginia congregation that left the Episcopal Church over theological differences has been denied an appeal before the United States Supreme Court regarding a property dispute with its former diocese.
After some delay, the highest Court in the land made their decision Monday to not hear the Falls Church Anglican's case over the historic church property they once oversaw.
In an email sent out to parishioners, Falls Church leadership acknowledged that the "long legal process" the congregation has been in with the Episcopal Church "has come to its end." more >>
A woman in Clarksville, Tennessee is being held for a psychological evaluation after being charged with the homicide of her 7-month-old daughter. Stefany Paige Johnson is accused of murdering daughter Astrid, but told police that "Jesus came down" and took the child to heaven.
Johnson was reportedly running naked, screaming in the road when authorities responded to the reports of her actions. When the authorities entered the home, they found Astrid unconscious on the couch. Johnson was "uncooperative and belligerent" when police arrived, according to the Clarksville Police report.
"Jesus came down and took Astrid to heaven," while she was bathing the girl, Johnson told police when asked what happened. That was the only explanation she gave, leading to authorities calling for a psychological evaluation. more >>
A former vice principal who says he was fired from his job for being gay is suing the Catholic high school that fired him and the local archdiocese in Seattle, Wash.
In the lawsuit, Mark Zmuda alleges that he was fired from Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Wash. in December 2013 after the school's administration learned he had recently married his same-sex partner. Zmuda is arguing for wrongful termination, violation of public policy, and violation of Washington's anti-discrimination laws. Both Eastside Catholic and the Archdiocese of Seattle are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
According to The Seattle Times, Zmuda's lawyers argue their client, as the vice principal at the school, served an administrative role that was not affiliated with the school's Catholic doctrine. This argument, as the local newspaper notes, works with a recent state Supreme Court ruling that says religious nonprofits cannot fire an employee based on religious beliefs if the employee's job was unrelated to religion. more >>
Conservative groups have criticized Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway's recent decision to not appeal a judge's ruling that struck down part of the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Conway, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that he will not be appealing a Feb. 12 ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II that determined Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Conway said in a statement that he has chosen not to appeal Judge Heyburn's ruling because doing so would be "defending discrimination." Shortly after his announcement, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, said the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal Heyburn's ruling.
Beshear said in a statement that the definition of marriage "will be and should be ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in order to bring finality and certainty to this matter," adding that "the people of this country need to know what the rules will be going forward. Kentucky should be a part of this process." more >>
A former Tenn. judge who previously ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin has been found guilty of five counts of bias.
On Monday, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct Disciplinary Counsel censured former judge Lu Anne Ballew, saying she disobeyed her obligations of impartiality when she ordered a mother to change her son's name from Messiah to Martin in 2013. The state's board of judicial conduct said censuring Ballew was the harshest form of punishment they could administer, as the judge already lost her job over the incident that took place in May last year.
According to WBIR-TV, a "public censure" means that Balew's violation of conduct will be put on record, and she may be required to "follow a specified course of corrective action." The news outlet adds that a censure is considered to be a stronger punishment than a public reprimand. more >>
A group of former and current Republicans are filing an amicus brief, encouraging a federal court of appeals to overturn same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah. They argue that the conservative values of freedom and liberty fall in line with gay marriage support.
It remains unclear which current Republican lawmakers have signed the 30-page argument but The Associated Press, which received a draft of the brief, named former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who has been known to be socially liberal and once described himself as a "RINO," or "Republic In Name Only," as part of the group. Simpson has also stated his support for same-sex marriage, telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2011, ahead of the GOP presidential primaries, that he wouldn't stand behind pro-traditional marriage candidates like Rick Santorum "who are homophobic."
Another Republican named on Tuesday's brief is former Rep. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas, who changed her opposition to same-sex marriage last year. more >>