Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Good news from Pittsburgh!

I posted about this trial a few weeks ago noting that the accused sent out invitations to her friends to join her and celebrate. I wonder whether she'd rather had a "decision on the merits"? A neighboring synod has a good precident on the books that could have resulted in another pro-gay marraige ruling from her case.

This article is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette....

Charges against Presbyterian pastor dismissed
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A church trial for a Presbyterian minister ended this morning after a panel decided that the charges against her for conducting the wedding of twolesbians were filed four days too late. The Rev. Janet Edwards, 56, a minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) anda pastoral associate at the Community of Reconciliation in Oakland, facedcharges for a marriage ceremony she celebrated in June 2005. The denomination's high court has said that clergy in the Presbyterian Church(USA) may bless same-sex couples as long as the ceremony does not resemblea marriage liturgy.But the Rev. Edwards has been clear that she celebrated a marriage. Sheargues that there is no ban on same-sex marriage ceremonies because theruling said clergy "should not" conduct them -- language she believes fallsshort of a prohibition.Her trial took place this morning at the Priory, a small hotel on the NorthSide. The panel of judges -- made up of clergy and elders - voted 8-0 todismiss the charges after deliberating for 1 1/2 hours. The panel said the decision does not constitute a vindication of the Rev.Edwards or any kind of decision on the issue at hand. Rather, it was basedon the defense contention that the charges were filed four days past thedeadline. Charges had to be filed within a year of the date when theinvestigating committee began meeting on the case, which was in September2005. The Rev. Edwards had announced that she welcomed the trial, and had issued formal invitations to the trial and a "worship celebration and lunch" she is holding at the Pittsburgh Golf Club in Schenley Park after the trial's conclusion. The Rev. Edwards, a former moderator of Pittsburgh Presbytery, has been an activist for gay people in the church since her ordination in 1977. She said she was inspired by the long, devoted relationship between a beloved uncle and his partner.

(Staff writer Ann Rodgers contributed to this report.)

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