Magazine article The Christian Century

Pastor Wins Same-Sex Rites Case on Appeal

Magazine article The Christian Century

Pastor Wins Same-Sex Rites Case on Appeal

Article excerpt

A Cincinnati minister has won a reversal of a 2003 Presbyterian church-court conviction for performing same-sex marriage ceremonies at a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Covenant made the 6-4 rifling April 30 in the case of Stephen A. Van Kuiken, reported Presbyterian News Service. The commission found that the record in the minister's case "does not support a finding of guilt by proof beyond a reasonable doubt." It ruled that the lower, presbytery court was mistaken when it interpreted a provision of the denomination's Book of Order as an absolute prohibition of same-sex marriage ceremonies.

"At issue is the existing tension in the Book of Order between the spirit and the letter of the law," the majority wrote. "The spirit of a wide, gracious welcome of all people, encouraged by the Book of Order, is in tension with the specified limitations on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Presbyterians, preventing their full and complete participation in the life of the church. …

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