A Methodist pastor was defrocked after performing his son’s gay wedding. Frank Schaefer was asked to resign after he reportedly violated the Methodist Book of Discipline. As he refused to resign, the Pennsylvania pastor was eventually defrocked by church officials.
In 2007, Schaefer officiated a small private wedding for his son and his husband in Massachusetts. Although state law allows gay marriage, it was against the beliefs and teachings of the Methodist church.
Most Methodist churches welcome homosexuals into their congregation. However, the pastors are banned from officiating same-sex unions and weddings. Schaefer said he discussed the wedding with his district superintendent prior to performing the ceremony, but did not inform his local congregation.
Although the wedding took place in 2007, a complaint was not filed until April 2013. As reported by Lebanon Daily News, the complaint led to two charges against the Methodist pastor.
Frank Schaefer was eventually suspended from his position for “conducting a ceremony that celebrates homosexual unions and disobedience to the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church.”
Huffington Post reports the 30-day suspension was meant to allow Schaefer time to repent for his behavior and cease ministering to the LGBT community. As the pastor refused to adhere to the stipulations, he was eventually asked to resign.
Schaefer refused to voluntarily resign as he believes the rules are biased and contradictory:
“I am actively committing to having those discriminatory laws changed and banished from our Book of Discipline… That’s the only way I can reconcile being a United Methodist at this point.”
John Coleman, spokesman for the United Methodist Church, confirmed Frank Schaefer was defrocked for failing to comply with church doctrine.
The former Methodist pastor said he is “now a voice for many — for tens of thousands — of LGBT members” of the United Methodist Church.
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