COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Dozens of parishes that split with The Episcopal Church over theological issues including the ordination of gay priests cannot take valuable real estate with them.
South Carolina's Supreme Court issued the decision Wednesday for 29 breakaway parishes that left the national church in 2012.
The conservative Diocese of South Carolina went to court to protect its identity, the diocesan seal and other symbols it uses, and $500 million in church property. A circuit judge sided with the diocese in 2014.
On Wednesday, justices split 2-2 on intellectual property issues such as trademarks. A fifth justice opted not to rule, leaving the lower court's ruling in place.
Attorneys on both sides of the long-awaited decision were still reviewing it and did not immediately comment.