In 2008, retired Presbyterian minister the Rev. Jane Spahr was acquitted by the denomination’s Supreme Judicial Council on charges that she violated church doctrine by performing a wedding ceremony for a lesbian couple.
Spahr’s legal defense at the time said that while the Presbyerian “Book of Order” defines marriage as between a man and a woman, the denomination’s rule book included no language specifically prohibiting same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Judicial Council found her not guilty on the grounds that the wedding wasn’t a real wedding anyway.
Now, Spahr is on trial with the church again for performing same-sex marriages: Back in 2008, during that brief period when same-sex marriages were legal there, Spahr performed 16 such weddings. Spahr said that she was compelled by her faith and her calling as a minister to perform the ceremonies because “to turn my back on the love and life-long commitments of these wonderful couples would have gone against my faith, the ministry where I was called, and most of all, against God’s amazing hospitality and welcome where love and justice meet together.”
The trial is set to start Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Napa, Calif.
By the way, Spahr is openly lesbian and has been an advocate for LGBT equality for years, long before she actually came out.