Redwoods Presbytery Files Appeal of Spahr's Acquittal
- Redwoods Presbytery files appeal of Spahr's same-sex-marriage
acquittal: Case goes next to the PJC of the Synod of the Pacific
by Jerry L. Van Marter
PCUSA News Service
March 31, 2006
LOUISVILLE - Redwoods Presbytery has announced that it will appeal the
March 2 acquittal by its Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) of the
Rev. Jane Adams Spahr on charges that she violated the Presbyterian
Church (U.S.A.)'s ban on performing same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Redwoods' stated clerk, the Rev. Robert Conover, said
notification of the appeal has been sent "to all the parties."
The Redwoods PJC acquitted Spahr by a 6-1 vote, ruling that
the PC(USA) constitution says that same-sex marriage ceremonies are
"improper" but not "forbidden."
The General Assembly PJC has ruled that same-sex union
ceremonies are not prohibited as long as they are not purported to be
or confused with marriage ceremonies.
Spahr, an openly lesbian minister who directs "That All May
Freely Serve," an organization that advocates for full inclusion of
gays and lesbians in the life of the PC(USA), including as ordained
officers, told the Redwoods church court that she has performed
hundreds of same-sex weddings since she was ordained in 1974. The
PC(USA) did not prohibit the ordination of non-celibate gays and
lesbians until 1978.
Sara Taylor, one of Spahr's two defense attorneys, told the
Bay Area Reporter that she welcomes the appeal. "I think that the
presbytery is appealing it in good faith," she said. "They know it's
an issue that the entire church is facing, and they want it to be
resolved at the highest court."
The appeal will be heard by the PJC of the Synod of the
Pacific, and seems likely to be headed to the General Assembly PJC,
the highest court in the denomination.