Church trial for Pennsylvania pastor who held same-sex wedding

A box of cupcakes are seen topped with icons of same-sex couples at City Hall in San Francisco, June 29, 2013. Credit: Reuters
A box of cupcakes are seen topped with icons of same-sex couples at City Hall in San Francisco, June 29, 2013. Credit: Reuters

The church trial of a Methodist pastor accused of violating the denomination’s teachings by officiating at a same-sex marriage began on Monday in rural Pennsylvania, where scores of his backers gathered to show their support.

The trial for Rev. Frank Schaefer, who in 2007 officiated at the wedding of his son Tim and another man, kicked off with opening statements by a prosecutor and the defense before a presiding officer.

Thirteen pastors constitute the jury at the trial, which was expected to last two days at a church camp near Spring City, Pennsylvania.

Schaefer is pastor of the Zion United Methodist church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Outside the trial, about 100 supporters were on hand to give Schaefer encouragement.

They unfurled a banner, several feet long, that read “We Are Open and Affirming” and had signs reading “Law or Love – Jesus Chose Love” and “Church trials are incompatible with Christian teaching.”

“We oppose the homophobic position of the United Methodist denomination,” said Rev. Hal Taussig of Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill United Church, which is affiliated with both the United Methodist and the United Church of Christ denominations.

The United Methodist Church has some 12 million members worldwide.

According to an article on an official Methodist blog, the trial is the first of its kind since 2012 when the church’s governing body affirmed its stance that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings.

But it is at least the eighth trial in the past 20 years of a member of the clergy accused of violating church law by performing a same-sex marriage or by acknowledging being gay, the blog report said.

In the blog article, Schaefer was quoted as saying his son had prayed “that God would change him and make him normal and when that didn’t happen he became suicidal.”

“When he came out, my wife and I just loved and supported him and told him there was nothing wrong with him,” he said in the blog.

Deciding to officiate at the wedding, he said: “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.”

The wedding was held in Massachusetts, which in 2003 became the first U.S. state to permit gay marriage.

Potential punishment for Schaefer could range from suspension to revocation of his ordination credentials.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.