Pa. pastor could get boot for presiding over son's gay wedding

Oct. 1, 2013 at 3:23 PM
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LEBANON, Pa., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A Methodist pastor in Pennsylvania will stand trial by church elders for officiating his gay son's marriage to another man, church officials said.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer performed a wedding ceremony for his son, Tim, and his same-sex partner in 2006 in Massachusetts, where same-sex nuptials are permitted. The issue wasn't brought up for years until this spring, when -- 26 days before the statute of limitations under the Zion United Methodist Church laws would have expired -- an anonymous church member filed a complaint, Pennlive.com reported Monday.

Schaefer will have to prove to church officials that his performing the ceremony was not a violation of church doctrine -- even though the organization's Book of Discipline expressly condemns homosexuality and prohibits member churches and ordained priests from hosting or officiating gay weddings.

Schaefer, who could have his credentials as a recognized church pastor revoked, said he plans to make a moral argument to church leaders that all church members deserve to be treated the same.

"I'm supposed to minister to everybody," he said. "That I feel is my call.

 "To me this is a human rights issue. If being of a certain sexual orientation is who you are as a person, if that is genetic, who are we to say that these persons do not have the same rights as everybody else."

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