The Reverend Jane Spahr, who married same-sex couples when gay marriage was legal in California, before Proposition 8 was passed is set ti stand trial before a Presbyterian court and is charged with “publicly, intentionally and repeatedly” violating Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) doctrine by presiding at the weddings of 16 couples between June 2008 and November 2008, before California voters outlawed same-sex marriages.
Rev, Spahr has pleaded not guilty, explaining there are other parts of church doctrine that are just as important such as being welcoming and valuing diversity. Spahr’s lawyers plan to argue this time around that she would have been breaking church law and shirking her pastoral responsibilities if she had refused to marry gay couples who had the legal right to wed and wanted Presbyterian ceremonies.
Read more after the break……
The regional Presbyterian of the Redwoods, which oversees 52 churches from an area north of San Francisco to the Oregon border, was required to bring the charges against Spahr earlier this year after a member filed a formal accusation against her
It’s the second time Spahr, a lesbian who founded a ministry for gay Presbyterians, has faced possible sanctions from her church. In 2006, she became the first pastor of her faith to be tried for officiating the weddings of gay couples from states that did not permit same-sex civil marriages.
Eleven of the couples Spahr married are expected to testify as witnesses at the trial scheduled to start Tuesday at a church in Napa, California.