Reverend Jane Spahr
Credit: Reuters/Joe Mitchell
Reuters, San Francisco, February 21
Presbyterian Church Court uphold pastor's censure for gay weddings
A sharply divided high court of the U.S. Presbyterian Church on Tuesday upheld the ecclesiastical rebuke levied against a lesbian minister for performing same-sex weddings in California.The decision affirming the censure of the Rev. Jane Spahr means that Presbyterian ministers continue to face church discipline for following their conscience in treating gay and lesbian couples the same as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage.
The case surrounding Spahr, a 69-year-old grandmother, highlights deep divisions within the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and its 2 million members, as well as other mainstream Protestant denominations, over gay marriage as clergy are increasingly asked to bless such unions.
Spahr's lawyers estimate at least 10 percent of the Presbyterian Church's followers identify themselves as gay or lesbian. more...
Rev Spahr's reprimand now stands. But there are no further sanctions or restrictions on her. She continues to be a recognised minister within the Presbyterian Church. The court was split 9-6.
The article concludes,
The church last spring formally opened the ranks of its clergy to homosexuals in a move that triggered a schism in the denomination, prompting a group opposed to gay clergy to form a new church called the Evangelical Convent Order of Presbyterians.
Spahr was censured once before, in April 2008, for performing lesbian marriages in California and New York in 2004 and 2005, before gay marriage was legal in either state. But the commission later lifted that rebuke, finding then that Spahr did not violate Presbyterian law prohibiting homosexual marriage because church doctrine recognized no such thing.