Presbyterian Church rules that lesbian minister violated rules, but offers praise

Fri. August 27, 2010 8:26 PM by News Staff

Napa, California - A Presbyterian Church tribunal ruled on Friday that lesbian Rev. Jane Adams Spahr violated the church's constitution when she married gay and lesbian couples, while at the same time praising her compassion.

Rev. Spahr officiated at 16 gay and lesbian weddings during the brief period in which they were legal in California. She was brought up on church charges after an anonymous complaint.

The church tribunal ruled that she had violated her ordination vows by performing the ceremony.

But the most of the tribunal's ruling praised her ministry, and asked that the larger church body examine the conflicting messages the Bible and the Presbyterian constitution offer on gay marriage.

"We call upon the church to reexamine our own fear and ignorance that continues to reject the inclusiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ," the decision said. "We say this believing that we have in our own Book of Order conflicting and even contradictory rules and regulations that are against the gospel."

Afterward, Rev. Spahr thanked the couples she married for their emotional testimony and support.

"It has been my greatest honor to have married you," Spahr said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I just love you so much. We know as oppressive systems change, they need people who are as magnificent as you are. We are changing a wrong here, a terrible injustice."

The punishment for this violation is a rebuke. Spahr's attorney said she plans to appeal.