The Rev. Jane Spahr responded on her Web site to the Permanent Judicial Commission decision that cleared her conviction. The PJC claimed that she couldn’t be convicted of conducting same sex weddings, because there is no such thing under the PCUSA constitution. She interpreted the decision as saying that she’s free to conduct same sex weddings. Really:
Today the Presbyterian’s General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) reversed the two-year-old Synod decision to censure Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr for her role in marrying same-gender couples. Today’s decision held that the Presbyterian constitution contains no prohibition against marrying same-gender couples.
“I am grateful that the Commission let stand the Presbytery’s original ruling which affirmed my ministry,” said Rev. Spahr. “The Church is a place of welcome and hospitality in which I will continue to honor relationships of love and commitment, regardless of sexual orientation.”
This Through-the-Looking-Glass approach to the decision–appropriate given that the decision itself has a Lewis Carroll-like feel to it–doesn’t mean that Spahr and her allies are satisfied:
“We are deeply troubled by the majority’s insistence on reading any language into the constitution that renders these marriages anything less than fully equal.” said, Sara Taylor, Rev. Spahr’s attorney. “By this act, the majority exceeded its judicial authority with respect to marriage in this denomination.”
Scratch the Carroll reference–this is positively Orwellian. War is peace, up is down, a prohibition on clergy performing same sex weddings is not a prohibition against same sex weddings, and citing such language from the text of the PCUSA constitution is reading such language into the constitution. Needless to say, Jane Spahr isn’t going to be deterred from doing what she’s got to do:
“I will continue to honor my calling to perform marriages for all couples who love one another and are committed to one another,” said Spahr. “To not perform these marriages would go against my faith, my conscience and most importantly, against God.”
Except that, according to the PJC, she isn’t performing marriages (ministers actually perform weddings that solemnize marriages, but there’s so much linguistic violence surrounding this case, what a little more?), so it isn’t possible for her to go against her faith, her conscience, or God–or is it? Truth be told, I’m beginning to wonder if any of this has actually happened, or if it’s all a Bob Newhart dream that we’re all going to wake up from at some point.