If you read Presbyweb on Oct 3rd, you'll see that the Pittsburgh Presbytery's PJC ruled in favor of the defendant in a certain trial held at the Priory (which I believe is a hotel in a former RC Church and Benedictine residence) in Pittsburgh.
Although the principle in the trial said publicly that she considered the ceremony performed was a marriage, and said so during the ceremony. Evidently, that doesn't hold sway with the PJC because the PCUSA's Book of Order (BOO) says that there is no such thing as a gay marriage. So just because she said she performed one, doesn't mean it was one.
Even though the 1991 General Assembly said:
GA (1991, 395, 21.124, Req. 91-23): Not proper for minister to perform same sex union ceremony that the minister determines to be the same as a marriage ceremony, nor should a session allow use of church property for such a ceremony.
The verdict was unanimous for acquittal. Here are some excerpts from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article:
Since church and state define marriage as between a man and a woman, she cannot have done what she was accused of, the court ruled yesterday.
"It can't be an offense to the constitution to attempt to do the impossible," said the decision, read by the Rev. Stewart Pollock, chairman of the Permanent Judicial Commission of Pittsburgh Presbytery..
Of course this flies in the face of this admission, again from the P-G:
The Rev. Edwards, a parish associate at the multi-denominational Community of Reconciliation in Oakland, conducted the ceremony in 2005 in McKees Rocks. Church court rulings at the time said that ministers may bless same-sex couples but "should not" use liturgy that resembles a marriage ceremony. The Rev. Edwards admits she intended to perform a marriage, but says that "should not" doesn't mean "must not."
"Should not" does not mean "must not" ... when the GA said that it is NOT proper for a minister to do a same-sex ceremony the minister determines to be the same as a marriage. The BOO itself on page 5 that: SHOULD signifies practice that is strongly recommended.
So, the BOO strongly recommends that a minister NOT claim a same sex ceremony is a marriage; the GA says its NOT proper to claim a same sex ceremony is a marriage. Doesn't it logically follow that doing so is not a good idea, and is violating the intent of the BOO and AI in this case ??
While reading the Classical Presbyterian blog, another blogger who is in favor of same sex marriage, as well as the ordination of practicing homosexuals, left a link to his blog where he said that the prosecution's case was one of 'Presbyterian Ineptitude' because the prosecution had only one witness; while the defendant had three lawyers, and witnesses such as a doctoral student in theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif (AFAIK ... not a bastion of centrist thought).
The student "drew chuckles when she argued that "unnatural acts" are not always sinful. "Resurrection is very contrary to nature," she said."
Oh that's funny, drawing a parallel between Christ's Resurrection, and "unnatural acts", which could include bestiality, pederasty, etc.
Another witness: "professor of historical theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, said that a core church document, the Westminster Confession of Faith, defined marriage as between "one man and one woman" because of 17th-century sects that promoted polygamy.
Really, I had thought it said so because Jesus said so in Mark 10-6,pp: But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'[a] 7'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8and the two will become one flesh.'[c] So they are no longer two, but one.
Ineptitude ?? More likely it was poverty rather than ineptitude, it must be nice to be able to find pro bono legal advice and expert testimony to be able to put on your defense with.
However, who am I to argue with the Presbytery PJC, who could only rule on the evidence brought before it. As part of the decision reads:
The Prosecuting Committee offered no evidence of the words actually used (emphasis mine) at the ceremony ... and thus there is no evidence that the words used held out the ceremony as a marriage. The only evidence offered included the bulletin and the "Wedding Ceremony Order of Service". While it could be inferred that the actually words at the ceremony were identical to the words in the "Wedding Ceremony Order of Service", there simply is insufficient proof that the actual ceremony was intended by the accused to be a marriage, or that she believed it could be a marriage ceremony.
Not knowing the procedure of a PJC trial, I have no idea if the accused was asked questions, but I suspect that there, as a normal civil trial, the accused does not have to take the stand. Instead she sat and let her defense team of lawyers, and flown in "experts" from California and LPTS demolish the prosecution.
After all with no actual audio of the event; at least none available to the prosecution, there wasn't much else the prosecution could do.
What is it going to take in order to be able to make any charge stick to those who are determined to thumb their noses at what has been polity for years, hiring private investigators to follow them with a video camera or tape recorder??
And so it goes.