Ga. Masons in legal fight over black Mason

July 1, 2009 at 12:17 AM
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DECATUR, Ga., July 1 (UPI) -- A Masons chapter in Atlanta has sued the state Grand Lodge, saying it is trying to dissolve the Atlanta group for admitting a black member.

Gate City Lodge No. 2 and Michael J. Bjelajac, who heads the chapter, in court papers are seeking an injunction to bar the Grand Lodge of Georgia Free & Accepted Masons from holding an internal trial or expelling their group from the fraternal organization, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in DeKalb County, also names as defendants Douglas Hubert Ethridge of Atlanta, Starling A. "Sonny" Hicks of Stockbridge and W. Franklin Aspinwall Jr. of Kingsland. Ethridge and Hicks allegedly wrote letters to the state group after Gateway No. 2 accepted Victor Marshall as a member last fall, saying the lodge violated Masonic laws, while Aspinwall, a lawyer, was appointed to conduct the trial.

Marshall said he has received e-mails from Masons supporting him.

"It's not Freemasonry as a whole," he told the newspaper. "It's these individuals who have forgotten what Freemasonry is all about."

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