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Presbyterian body now supports minister who wed same-sex couples

May 15, 2012 |  2:36 pm

Presbyterian

Days after President Obama announced support for same-sex marriage, the Presbyterian Church's Northern California governing body refused to rebuke a retired minister for performing same-sex weddings.

The Presbytery of the Redwoods, which governs churches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon Border, rejected the church's official denunciation and overwhelmingly threw its support behind the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr.

Those in favor of and those against gay and lesbian unions called the 74-18 vote a historic event in the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which like other mainstream Protestant denominations has been struggling with the issue of sexual orientation for decades. Spahr performed the same-sex weddings when they were legal in California.

"The presbytery's decision and the president's decision are both part of the progress that we're seeing in our culture," said the Rev. Scott Clark, part of a team of lawyers that has been representing Spahr in ecclesiastical court since 2010. "More and more people actually know lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender folks, and they have to acknowledge our dignity and our full value."

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-- Maria La Ganga in San Anselmo, Calif.

Photo: The Rev. Jane Adams Spahr at a Santa Rosa, Calif., ceremony for two lesbian couples in 2006. Credit: Robert Tong / Independent Journal

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