Ohio judge next stop in megachurch protest dispute

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A judge in Columbus must decide whether protests by a conservative Christian group outside one of Ohio's largest churches can continue.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider hears arguments Tuesday in a dispute between the Vineyard Columbus church and members of Minutemen United.

The group has directed months of protests at the 8,500-member church in protest of its "passive resistance" to abortion and gay marriage. Senior pastor Rich Nathan says he's tired of the demonstrations and is seeking a restraining order.

Minutemen members want the church to take stronger stands against abortion and homosexuality. Nathan says the church opposes both but has a mission to be "broad and inclusive."

Schneider's decision must balance protesters' First Amendment rights and the private property rights of the church.

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