A Pennsylvania pastor, who officiated gay son’s wedding, is set to stand trial and prove that what he did conforms to church teachings, UM Connections has reported.
Rev. Frank Schaefer officiated the same-sex marriage of his son, Tim, in 2007, according to UM Connections. The action violated the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s law book, which states “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Schaefer said he did so because he wanted to “follow his heart.”
“In some sense it was a difficult decision because I knew I was putting my career, my ministry, on the line, but in another sense it was easy because my heart told me I had to do this,” he said.
His son came out around six years before the wedding and told Schaefer he had contemplated suicide after revealing his homosexuality.
The wedding took place in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage was previously legalized.
“Sadly, our church is once again being led down the path of a costly and divisive trial by a pastor who chose to disregard the prayerful and consistent teaching of our church that Christian marriage is the holy union of one man and one woman,” said Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, the vice president and general manager of Good News, an unofficial evangelical United Methodist caucus.
One month before the statute of limitations would have expired, one of his congregants filed a complaint against the pastor.
Schaefer must now stand trial and if the jury finds him guilty, he faces a potential loss of ordination credentials.
For Schaefer this is a “worst scenario” and said he doesn’t want to lose his credentials. “I love being a minister, I love ministry.” He defends that 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,” he said, according to Penn Live.
The trial will take place at Camp Innabah, Pa, on Nov. 18. It will be presided by retired bishop Alfred Gwinn.