A state circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by scores of United Methodist churches in Florida seeking to separate from the larger network of places of worship that make up the United Methodist Church.

Circuit Judge George Wright of the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Bradford County issued the opinion April 17 in a case involving 75 churches that disagree with certain UMC actions. The churches contend the UMC hierarchy tolerates clergy who perform same-sex marriage and are themselves openly gay.

The plaintiffs have also alleged that UMC can mandate onerous financial obligations on churches that wish to leave the fold, according to the lawsuit.

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