Appeal Filed Against Lesbian Pastor's Acquittal

The PC(USA)'s Redwoods division is appealing the case of a lesbian activist and longtime pastor who was acquitted of charges that she violated the church's ban on performing gay ceremonies.

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April 2, 2006|10:31 am

The Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Redwoods division is appealing the case of a lesbian activist and longtime pastor who was acquitted of charges that she violated the church's ban on performing same-sex ceremonies.

According to an article by the Presbyterian News Service on Friday, the stated clerk of the Redwoods Presbytery said the notification of the appeal against the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr has been sent "to all the parties."

Spahr was acquitted on Mar. 2, 2006 following a brief tribunal where she testified that she performed hundreds of same-sex ceremonies throughout her 30-year career. During the trial Spahr said she called those ceremonies "marriages" if that is the term the couples preferred.

The PC(USA) allows pastors to oversee same-sex ceremonies as long as they are not equated to heterosexual marriages – the only type of marriage recognized by the denomination.

In its 6-1 decision, the Redwoods Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) acquitted Spahr on the basis that the denomination views same-sex marriages as "improper" by not necessarily "forbidden."

Conservatives immediately criticized the decision and predicted a quick appeal.

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The appeal will be heard by the PJC of the Synod of the Pacific and will likely be taken up to the denomination's highest court, the General Assembly PJC.

 

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