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Charges dropped
for minister who performed lesbian ceremony

Charges dropped
for minister who performed lesbian ceremony

Charges were dismissed Wednesday that had been brought against a Presbyterian minister accused of breaking church law by performing a marriage ceremony for two women after church officials determined the charges were filed too late.

The Permanent Judicial Commission of the Pittsburgh Presbytery voted 8-0 to dismiss the charges against Janet Edwards because they were filed several days after a filing deadline. Edwards, a parish associate at the Community of Reconciliation Church in Pittsburgh, had been accused of violating the church's position on marriage by presiding at the June 2005 wedding.

The constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reserves marriage for a man and a woman, although ministers may bless other types of ''holy unions.''

''This dismissal constitutes neither a vindication of the accused nor any finding with respect to the subject,'' according to a statement from the commission read by Kears Pollock, the group's vice moderator.

The Presbyterian Church, like other mainline denominations, has been struggling to stay unified despite differences over whether the traditional biblical view condemning gay relationships should stand.

Presbyterians who support same-gender unions say the Bible's social justice teachings on inclusiveness should prevail over what they see as an outdated view of homosexuality.

Edwards presided over the marriage of Nancy McConn, a retired computer software developer from Dallas, W.Va., and Brenda Cole, a clinical psychologist. (AP)

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