Shuck and Jive

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jane Spahr's Day in Court

Rev. Jane Spahr met with the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (the Presbyterian Supreme Court) today. Read the article here. The supremes will issue their verdict on Monday and it will be posted Tuesday on its verdicts page. Who knows, someone may leak it earlier.

Her defense stated the following:

Sara Taylor of San Francisco, one of Spahr’s lawyers, said the 65-year-old retired minister and lesbian activist acted within her rights and did not violate church law by performing the weddings.

“We will agree that there is descriptive language regarding the definition of marriage in the Book of Order, we do not deny that, but unlike ordination or other things there are no mandatory prohibitions,” Taylor told the General Assembly PJC in her opening remarks. “There is no language in the constitution of this church that prohibits same-gender couples from marrying. Disciplinary actions are under the purview of the presbytery.”

According to the prosecution:

In his opening statement, Stephen L. Taber, a San Francisco attorney prosecuting Spahr for Redwoods Presbytery, said no one is above the law.

He said the PC(USA)’s constitution defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, and a 2000 decision by the GA Permanent Judicial Commission held that Presbyterian ministers could conduct services blessing same-sex relationships but could not present them as marriages, and that the services of blessing should not resemble weddings.

Taber said that while many Presbyterians may want to change church policy and allow same-sex marriages, many others do not. He said someone disagreeing with those standards can protest or seek to change them but is bound not to disobey them.

Check our Rev. Spahr's webpage for events surrounding the case this weekend.

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