California Episcopals Split Over Gay Rights

Legal battles likely to ensue after diocese breaks with church
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2007 6:13 PM CST
Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican spiritual leader, speaks to reporters in New Orleans on Friday, Sept. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A California diocese split with the Episcopal Church today over its defense of gay and women's rights, Reuters reports. The Diocese of San Joaquin, home to 47 churches and 8,800 congregants around Fresno, voted for the break by a vote of 173-22 among delegates. “This is the first time that a diocese has finally said 'enough' to the liberal theology of the Episcopal Church,” said one bishop.

Expensive legal battles will likely ensue over church assets. "It's about property, it's about millions of dollars and it's about power," said one reverend who observed the vote. A bishop at the diocese called the vote "a miracle" and hoped others would follow; the US Episcopal Church said it received news of the break "with sadness."