Rev. Frank Schaefer on Trial for Officiating Son’s Gay Wedding

| by Allison Geller

Methodist Rev. Frank Schaefer of Pennsylvania will face a church trial on Nov 18 after officiating his son’s same-sex wedding in 2007.

MSN News reported that Schaefer, 51, faces charges that he broke his pastoral vows when he performed the ceremony in Massachusetts. While the United Methodist Church accepts gay and lesbian members, it calls homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching." Any clergy member who officiates a same-sex wedding may face consequences.

"I would no longer be ordained and would basically lose my career," Schaefer told the Lebanon Daily News. "I've been appointed for almost 20 years and ordained since 1996, so it would be very tragic."

Schaefer will not apologize for his actions or alter his stance.

"If I am charged to minister to all people, regardless of who they are and what they are, then it should be just so," he said.

Schaefer could avoid trial if he promised never to perform a same-sex wedding again. As three of his four children are gay, Schaefer is unwilling to make that compromise.

Schaefer’s son Tim told his parents about his homosexuality when he was 17. It had been a huge emotional burden, particularly since he was the child of a pastor and had been told homosexuality was a sin. He had even contemplated suicide.

For Schaefer, who hadn’t before been confronted with the issue of homosexuality, it was proof that being gay was not a choice.

"If that's the case, this is the way God made him," Schaefer said. "This is the way he was created, as a homosexual."

"I do worry about losing my credentials," he told MSN, "but I'm willing to lose them for an act of love."

While gay marriage is garnering increasing political and social support, religious communities remain divided. 

Last week Rev. Ken Kline Smeltzer, another Pennsylvania pastor, was fired from his congregation after officiating a same-sex marriage, reported The Huffington Post.

Sources: MSN News, Lebanon Daily News, The Huffington Post.