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Presbyterian Pastor to Appeal Gay-marriage Verdict

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(RNS/ENInews) A retired Presbyterian pastor who was formally rebuked by a church court for marrying same-sex couples in California will appeal the ruling.

The Rev. Jane Spahr was found guilty of violating her ordination vows and the rules of the Presbyterian Church (USA) last Friday (Aug. 27).

A court of the Redwoods Presbytery in Napa, Calif., rebuked Spahr for repeatedly disobeying a church law that says pastors can conduct same-sex blessings but not represent them as marriages.

Spahr, a self-described lesbian evangelist, has said she wed at least 16 couples from June to November 2008, when gay marriage was legal in California.

The Redwoods court used most of its ruling to praise Spahr and her 35-year-long prophetic ministry to gays and lesbians.

The court also called on the PCUSA to re-examine our own fear and ignorance and said the denomination has conflicting and even contradictory rules and regulations that are against the Gospel.

Spahr told ENInews she was stunned by the decision. She had expected a different outcome given the Redwoods Presbytery’s reputation as a liberal bastion and the emotional court testimony of gay and lesbian couples.

The law here is wrong, said Spahr. It was not a just decision.

She said that being found guilty while commended for her ministry shows the church is in great conflict and playing it out on our lives.