Society

Pastor Frank Schaefer Convicted Of Breaking Church Law After Officiating Son’s Same-Sex Wedding

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A United Methodist pastor in Pennsylvania could be defrocked after he was convicted of breaking church law when he officiated his gay son’s wedding.

Boston.com reports that a 13-member jury convicted Rev. Frank Schaefer on two charges: That he officiated a gay wedding, and that he showed “disobedience to the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church.”

Schaefer was found to have disobeyed the Methodist Book of Discipline by performing the wedding back in 2007, according to Time. The church accepts gay and lesbian members, but clergy are banned from officiating same-sex marriage ceremonies.

“I love the United Methodist Church,” Schaefer said. “I’ve been a minister for almost 20 years and there are so many good things about the United Methodist Church except for that one rule.” 

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Schaefer, who had pleaded not guilty to the charges, reportedly could have avoided the trial by agreeing to not perform any more same-sex ceremonies, but he balked, saying three of his four children are gay.

“When pastors take the law of the church in their own hand ... it undermines their own credibility as a leader and also undermines the integrity of the church as a whole,” Jon Boger, the complainant, and a member of Schaefer’s congregation, said.

The jury is reconvening for the penalty phase. The discipline for Schaefer ranges from a reprimand to potentially losing his minister’s credentials.

Sources: Boston.com, Time