Falls Church, Va. • The Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in a dispute between the Episcopal Church and a conservative northern Virginia congregation that left the denomination in a rift over homosexuality and other issues, ending a seven-year legal battle over a historic church that traces its roots back to George Washington.
The justices rejected an appeal from The Falls Church Anglican, one of seven Virginia congregations that broke away from the Episcopal Church in 2006 and has now aligned itself with the more conservative Anglican Church of North America.
The breakaway congregation claimed a right to keep the church building and surrounding property, and in 2008 a Fairfax County judge sided with it. But the Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling and sent the case back for reconsideration. In 2011, the same judge who first sided with the conservative congregation sided with the Episcopal Church. Monday's decision by the Supreme Court leaves that ruling intact.