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Methodist minister defrocked over same-sex marriage

Dec. 19, 2013 at 4:15 PM

NORRISTOWN, Pa., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa., was defrocked Thursday after he was tried by the United Methodist Church for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding.

Schaefer and the board of the church's eastern Pennsylvania conference met for only 15 minutes Thursday in the board's Norristown office. Their decision to strip him of his ministerial qualifications was made after he was given the option Monday of either recommitting to Methodist doctrine, which includes a ban on same-sex marriages, or turning over his credentials, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday.

"I cannot uphold those discriminatory laws and the language in the United Methodist Church's book of Discipline that is hurtful and harmful to our homosexual brothers and sisters in the church," Schaefer told supporters Monday in Philadelphia's Arch Street United Methodist Church.

Schaefer hoped the church board would allow him to keep his credentials and let him stand as a voice for social change in a church deeply divided over gay rights, the newspaper noted.

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