VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli Files Brief in Support of Motion to
Fairfax County Circuit Court
UPDATED: The Commonwealth of Virginia's brief in support of the Anglican congregations is located here. The congregations' motion is here.
|Fairfax County Courthouse, Fairfax, Virginia|
Since at least 2003, the congregations permitted donors to designate whether or not their donations were to be given to The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. By 2006, virtually all of the contributions held by these congregations were from donors who had indicated that their gifts were not to go to or be used for the benefit of The Episcopal Church or the Diocese.
“The core issue that we are asking the court to reconsider is the right of donors to restrict the use of their own gifts to the church of their choice. We believe that they could. This is a religious liberty issue at its core as the courts are not lawfully able to coerce contributions to a specific religious entity against the wishes of the donors. We ask that the court honor the gift restrictions designated by individuals that have faithfully offered their contributions to these congregations,” said Jim Oakes, spokesperson for the seven Anglican congregations.
On Wednesday, February 22, the Virginia Attorney General filed a brief with the Fairfax County Circuit Court in support of the defendant congregations’ motion for partial reconsideration.
“We are gratified that the Attorney General agrees with our argument and has filed a brief in support of this motion to protect the rights of charitable donors,” concluded Oakes.
The Circuit Court heard the church property case last spring after the Virginia Supreme Court remanded it in June 2010. Last month, the Circuit Court ruled against the congregations, after they previously had succeeded in their efforts on the Circuit Court level to defend the property that they bought and paid for.
The seven Anglican congregations are members of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a member diocese within the Anglican Church in North America.
For background on the case or to schedule an interview with a spokesperson, please contact Caitlin Manaois at (703) 683-5004 ext. 119.