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Minister 'guilty' over gay weddings

A retired US Presbyterian minister has been found guilty of misconduct by a church court for officiating at the weddings of 16 gay couples when same-sex marriage was legal in California.

A regional commission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) ruled 4-2 that the Reverend Jane Spahr of San Francisco "persisted in a pattern or practice of disobedience" by performing the weddings in 2008 before Proposition 8 banned the unions in the state.

The church's highest court held that Presbyterian ministers may bless same-sex unions as long as they do "not state, imply, or represent that a same-sex ceremony is a marriage".

At the same time, however, the tribunal devoted most of its ruling to praising the 68-year-old pastor, a lesbian who founded a church group in the early 1990s for gay Presbyterians.

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