Friday, August 27, 2010

Ken Mehlman, Meet Rev. Janie Spahr, a Hero

The Rev. Janie Spahr, a minister in the PCUSA who happens to also be a lesbian, was charged with violating her ordination vows today because she married a lesbian couple in the state of CA when such marriages were allowed. She did this act, performing this marriage, as an act of her ordination vows and sense of calling. After all, don't we ministers do weddings?

Here are the charges brought against her today, in which she was found guilty:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) charges you, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, a minister of Word and Sacrament, with the following offenses:

  1. On or about June 20, 2008, you, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, did commit the offense of representing that a the Marjorie Taylor and Sherrie Ann Holmes, were married under the laws of the State of California in effect at that time, and thereafter signing their Certificate of Marriage as the person solemnizing the marriage. This action is in direct violation of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (GAPJC) in its Decision and Order in Disciplinary Case 218-12, Jane Adams Spahr vs. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), “…officers of the PCUSA authorized to perform marriages shall not state, imply, or represent that a same sex ceremony is a marriage. Under W-4-9001, a same sex ceremony is not and cannot be a marriage.”
  2. You, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, persisted in a pattern or practice of disobedience concerning the aforementioned authoritative interpretation of the Book of Order, in that during the period between June 17, 2008 and November 3, 2008,, when same sex marriages were valid and lawful under the laws of the State of California, you represented that no fewer than fifteen such additional ceremonies you performed were marriages of the same sex.
  3. By intentionally and repeatedly acting in violation of the above-referenced authoritative interpretation of the Book of Order as set forth in Disciplinary Case 218-12, you, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, failed to be governed by polity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in violation of your ordination vows (W-4.4003e).
  4. By publicly, intentionally and repeatedly acting in violation of the Book of Order, you, JANE ADAMS SPAHR, have failed to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church (W-4.4003g).

Records and Documents in Support of Charge

  1. State of California County of Marin License and Certificate of Marriage of Sherrie Anne Holmes and Sara Marjorie Taylor;
  2. Copy of Associated Press Internet article dated June 21, 2008, describing the marriage of Sherrie Holmes and Sara Taylor and the statement of the accused at an interview following the ceremony;
  3. Decision and Order of the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Disciplinary Case 218-12;
  4. Presbytery of Redwoods Member Annual Required Report – 2009, submitted by and describing ministry activities of Jane Adams Spahr during calendar year 2008.

In light of Ken Mehlman coming out, all I have to say is "Ken, meet a hero. This act of disobedience comes at a great cost to her personally and in her career. This is what a hero does: when the going gets tough, she got going, while you foisted other LGBTQ couples to live now in states with constituents that prohibit us from marrying one another. Mr. Mehlman, you are no hero."



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