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Courts

LONDON (RNS) A British High Court justice has triggered dismay and anger across England and Wales with a recent decision that declares prayers at town hall meetings are against the law. Justice Duncan Ouseley ruled Friday (Feb. 10) that local government councils were violating a 40-year-old law if they conducted prayers “as part of a […] Read More

LONDON (RNS) Britain’s Court of Appeal has ordered a pair of Christian innkeepers to pay 3,600 pounds ($5,800) in damages to a gay couple that was told they could not share a room in the couple’s guesthouse. The three-judge panel rejected an appeal by the innkeepers, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, in their conviction of telling […] Read More

LOS ANGELES (RNS) In a decision that likely will set the stage for a high-stakes showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure that banned gay marriage, saying there is no “legitimate” reason to keep same-sex couples from marrying. Prop 8 supporters immediately […] Read More

WILMINGTON, N.C. (RNS) As a Muslim woman waits in jail for word on a possible indictment in her alleged involvement in a murder-for-hire beheading plot, her friends and family are using social media to rally support for her cause. Shortly after the arrests in late January of Nevine Aly Elshiekh and alleged accomplice Shkumbin Sherifi, […] Read More

(RNS) North American Muslims are more than satisfied with the secular legal system and do not want a set of parallel courts for Islamic law, according to a new study of U.S. and Canadian Muslims by a Washington-based think tank. The study, by University of Windsor law professor Judy Macfarlane for the Institute for Social […] Read More

(RNS) A counseling student who declined to advise a gay client might have been expelled from her university because of her faith, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday (Jan. 27). Citing her evangelical Christian religion, Julea Ward disagreed with professors at Eastern Michigan University who told her she was required to support the sexual […] Read More

(RNS) Seven congregations that broke with the Episcopal Church in 2006 over its liberal policies on homosexuality are not entitled to keep parish property estimated to be worth millions, a Virginia judge ruled on Tuesday (Jan. 10). The ruling by Fairfax County Judge Randy Bellows reverses a decision he made in 2008, and hands a […] Read More

(RNS) Oklahoma’s referendum against state judges considering Islamic law is unconstitutional, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday (Jan. 10), upholding a lower court ruling that had blocked the measure. The ruling could affect more than 20 other states where laws against Shariah are under consideration. In a 37-page ruling, the 10th […] Read More

ST. LOUIS (RNS) The director of a leading victims’ advocacy group refused to answer some questions or turn over documents in a deposition held Monday (Jan. 2) in a Kansas City, Mo., clergy abuse case. David Clohessy, who directs the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) from St. Louis, said in a statement […] Read More

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) The second of three city men termed “shiftless and pathetic” by a judge was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for burning a local black church to the ground in the predawn hours after President Barack Obama was elected. Michael F. Jacques Jr., 27, did not go quietly during a three-year […] Read More