A Presbyterian court in Pittsburgh ruled October 2 that a minister did not violate scripture or church law by performing a union ceremony for two lesbians, since the ceremony was not a marriage under church or state law.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) permits ministers to preside over same-sex unions as long as they are not purported to be marriages.
Janet Edwards of Pittsburgh did not conduct a marriage when she performed the ceremony in 2005 because Pennsylvania and the PCUSA define marriage as a heterosexual union, ruled the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Pittsburgh Presbytery.
“Whatever ceremony the accused presided over,” the nine-member commission said in a unanimous ruling, “it was not, and could not have been, a marriage ceremony.”
The court also said that there is “no evidence” that Edwards presented herself as a Presbyterian minister when she performed the ceremony.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).