Minister Faces Trial for Gay Marriage

By Editors

Originally published on August 23 2010 8:20 PM ET

Jane Spahr, a lesbian Presbyterian minister in northern California, faces a church court trial on Tuesday in Napa for marrying gay couples in 2008.

The Presbytery of the Redwoods, which represents churches from north of San Francisco to the Oregon border, is accusing Spahr of "publicly, intentionally and repeatedly" violating Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) doctrine — the charges were filed after a congregant filed a formal complaint against the 67-year-old minister after she wed 16 couples during the short time California sanctioned same-sex marriage. The Presbyterian Church defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but allows ministers to bless same-sex unions and perform partnership ceremonies that don't mimic traditional wedding ceremonies.

Spahr faces charges ranging from a rebuke to a suspension. She previously faced a church trial for marrying gay couples in 2006, but the charges were eventually thrown out because she didn't perform government-sanctioned marriages.

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