Rev. Jane Spahr on trial — again — for marrying same-sex couples

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.

The Rev. Jane Spahr

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.

—  admin

Observer, Advocate on DART

The Dallas Observer and The Advocate win prizes for being the first local and national media outlets, respectively, to pick up on DART’s decision to gut its proposed transgender protections. I’m also told to expect a story from WFAA-TV’s Brett Shipp tonight and from The Dallas Morning News in tomorrow’s edition. Can’t wait.

—  John Wright

Frightening possible consequences of a 'conversion'

Dwan Prince and his mother, Valerie Prinez
Dwan Prince and his mother, Valerie Prinez

One June 8, 2005, Dwan Prince was standing behind his apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking out his garbage, when he got into an argument a man named Steven Pomie. Prince, according to the LGBT Hate Crimes Project, responded rather flirtatiously to something Pomie said to him, prompting Pomie to leave and then return with two friends to attack Prince, yelling anti-gay epithets as they beat and kicked and stomped him.

Now, according to reports in The Gay City News, Prince has sent Pomie a letter apologizing for having made “hateful” statements to Pomie, and expressing his hope that Pomie will receive a light sentence.

On the night of the attack, a neighbor sitting on the stoop in front of the building heard the commotion and went to Prince’s rescue, but not before Prince was beaten into unconsciousness, according to the LGBT Hate Crimes Project. He was hospitalized in the ICU at Brookdale Hospital and remained in a coma for more than a month, suffering from a blood clot the size of a soda can in his brain

Prince, who is HIV-positive, had to have three brain surgeries and still was left partially paralyzed. He also suffered impaired speech and cognitive problems, including memory loss, along with nerve damage that left him with uncontrollable tremors and constant pain in his limbs.

Once he left the hospital, Prince had to move in with his mother, Valerie Prinez, in New Jersey. Prinez, a paralegal, had to take unpaid leave from her job to care for her son and later had to declare bankruptcy. She told The New York Blade that when she asked her church for help, she was turned down after the church found out her son was gay.

Pomie was arrested eight days later in New Jersey and was later convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A state appellate court reversed the conviction last year and ordered that he be tried again on second-degree charges of assault and assault as a hate crime.

But last month, according to Gay City News, Prince sent Pomie a letter of apology. The apology comes, GCN reports, after Prince started attending a Bible study class and telling people he is no longer gay.

The letter read, in part: “First please allow me to deeply apology [sic] for my hated comment. Please I do hope you know I am truly deeply sorry for what ever was sayed [sic] that night. I have made some big mistakes in my life and that was the stupidiest [sic] and biggest one of all. … I was at blame so it is my to my strongest degree that you get out as soon as possible. … Steve you changed me! So hopefully when you get out we can hang out. You know me. I know you. I help you calm that angry machine down. And allow you to know I am not gay but a lover, and you can find me a female I can love and can love me.”

Okay, I don’t know about you, but this makes me pretty mad. This man was beaten nearly to death, and no he is apologizing to the guy who did it?! Sounds like “conversion therapy” at its finest, doesn’t it? And here’s the really good part: This “apology” from Prince to Pomie could endanger prosecutors’ chances of winning a conviction in the new trial, which means it’s more likely that another hate-filled gay basher will be set free to roam the streets and find another queer to beat up, maybe even kill.

—  admin