Saturday, November 3, 2012

Presbyterian court clears pastor wed in same-sex ceremony

From New Jersey-

The top court of the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has cleared a New Jersey pastor of charges that she violated church law by getting married to another woman in Massachusetts.

The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission ruled Oct. 28 that the Rev. Laurie McNeill didn’t violate any church law because she didn’t preside over a same-sex wedding but rather was one of those exchanging the vows, and because no Presbyterian clergy or churches were involved.

McNeill, and Lisa Lynn Gollihue got married in 2009 in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal. The ceremony took place in an Episcopal Church on Cape Cod and was presided over by ministers from the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ. New Jersey allows same-sex couples to have civil unions but not marriages.

The Presbyterian constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman — although that definition has come under challenge in a denomination that has already began officially allowing the ordination of openly gay ministers — and it forbids Presbyterian ministers for presiding over such ceremonies and the use of Presbyterian churches in hosting them. The church does allow blessings of same-sex relationships as long as they aren’t represented as wedding ceremonies.

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