Pittsburgh Update

Pittsburgh Update publishes weekly summaries of recent developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion that affect or could affect Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Emphasis is on reporting, not interpretation. This is a service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. This site is in no way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, January 19, 2015

News for Week Ending 1/19/2015

South Dakota same-sex marriage ban struck down

AP reported January 12, 2015, that U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier sided with plaintiffs in striking down legislative and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in the state of South Dakota. The state plans to appeal the decision, which has been stayed pending appeal. More significantly, the U.S. Supreme Court has moved to take up the matter of same-sex marriage this term. (See next story.)

Supreme Court to consider gay marriage cases

The United States Supreme Court, following its partial rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has stood by as federal courts struck down same-sex marriage bans in state after state. Unlike appeals courts in other circuits, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has upheld state bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. This has required the high court to agree to consider appeals from cases in those states. Oral arguments will be held in April. The court will consider whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and whether a state must acknowledge a same-sex marriage performed in another state where such unions are legal. This story was covered by The Washington Post. SCOTSblog is posting a collection of essays in connection with legal questions related to same-sex marriage.

Bishop Cook makes bail

Maryland’s Bishop Suffragan Heather Elizabeth Cook who was recently jailed in connection with the traffic accident that resulted in the death of bicyclist Thomas Palermo—see Pittsburgh Update story here—has been released on bail and is resuming treatment for substance abuse. The $2.5 million bail was paid by a bondsman who received $35,000 from Mark H. Hansen and a promissory note for an additional $215,000. Hansen, described as a friend of Cook, first meet her when they were attending the General Theological Seminary. Hansen became an Episcopal priest and was a member of the “Connecticut Six,” priests who objected to the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. He was eventually deposed for taking an unauthorized sabbatical.The Hartford Courant covered this story. Some background on Mark Hansen can be found here.

Wichita church targeted for ‘Chili for Choice’ event

The Wichita Eagle reported January 13, 2015, that a fund raiser for Planned Parenthood to be held at Wichita’s St. James Episcopal Church may draw protesters. The event, “Chili for Choice” is being held at the church for the fourth straight year and is supported by other area churches as well. “Chili for Choice” is scheduled for January 22, the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. The church has received threats from anti-abortion activists even though Planned Parenthood does not perform abortions in Wichita. The bigger protest may take place on the Sunday following the fund raiser.