Presbyterian Church Convicts Minister for Officiating Gay Marriages

Friday, Aug 27, 2010  |  Updated 2:15 PM PDT
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Minister on Trial For Gay Weddings

Advocates for gay marriage in New Jersey got sobering news from a previously sympathetic State Supreme Court today, when it denied their attempt to get an early decision on the constitutionality of the state's Civil Union Law.

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Minister on Trial For Gay Weddings

A retired Presbyterian reverend is on trial this week in Napa for marrying 16 same-sex couples in 2008 when the marriages were legally recognized in California.
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A church court has convicted a retired Presbyterian minister of misconduct for officiating the weddings of gay couples when same-sex marriage was legal in California.
     
A judicial commission said Friday that the Rev. Jane Spahr violated Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) doctrine when she married the 16 couples in 2008. The church's constitution defines marriage as a sacred union between a man and a woman.

The verdict followed a 3-day trial in which Spahr's lawyers argued that her actions were inspired by Presbyterian teachings on diversity and inclusion.

The six-member commission representing 54 Northern California churches says it plans to rebuke Spahr but not suspend her from ministerial duties.

Spahr and her lawyers are considering whether to appeal the ruling to a midlevel church court.

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