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.