Rev. Jane Spahr Tried by Presbyterians -- Again!

August 21, 2010
The Rev. Jane Spahr is going to trial for the second time in recent years for performing marriages for same-sex couples.   The trial will take place on August 24 in Napa, Calif.  The Dallas Voice reported that Rev. Spahr was acquitted at the 2008 trial because the Presbyterian Church (USA) high court decided she had not really performed a wedding. This time the trial will examine sixteen weddings performed by Rev. Spahr during the few weeks when some 18,000 same-sex couples were legally married in California. In an MSNBC interview with Contessa Brewer, Rev. Spahr said, “I think for me, as pastors, we should be able to marry the people who come to us…So what I say to people, ‘It doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is. It matters to me that you have a healthy, just, loving, mutual relationship.’” Supporters are speaking out and asking the whole denomination to change their policies and practices.  At their July 2010 General Assembly, the denomination approved benefits for same-sex partners but declined to take up the legislative actions for marriage equality.  Instead, they referred marriage to be studied.   Ironically, this gives human resources directors in Presbyterian agencies more guidance than pastors serving in states where marriages or civil unions for same-sex couples are legal.