Rev. Frank Schaefer: U.S. pastor who performed son’s gay marriage defrocked

Rev. Frank Schaefer was found guilty of violating church law for officiating at the 2007 wedding of his son and another man. For use with.  Photo by Kathy Gilbert/United Methodist News Service.
Rev. Frank Schaefer was found guilty of violating church law for officiating at the 2007 wedding of his son and another man. For use with.
Photo by Kathy Gilbert/United Methodist News Service.

A Pennsylvania Methodist pastor who conducted his son’s same-sex wedding ceremony in Massachusetts was defrocked on Thursday after he refused to vow to never perform another gay marriage.

The fate of Reverend Frank Schaefer, pastor of the Zion United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was decided by a United Methodist church board in a closed-door session in a church office located in a suburban Philadelphia office park.

“He no longer holds the ministerial office in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference by virtue of his decision,” Bishop Peggy Johnson said in a statement.

Schaefer left the site without comment but scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon.

Schaefer was defrocked less than a month after he was found guilty in a church trial of violating church law by performing the ceremony for his son, Tim, in 2007 during a restaurant ceremony in Hull, Mass., where same sex marriage is permitted.

He was sentenced by a church jury, made up of pastors, to a 30-day suspension and ordered to resign by Thursday if he could not uphold church doctrine, which is outlined in the United Methodist Book of Discipline.

Schaefer has been publicly defiant since then, saying immediately after the verdict that he would not change his mind and that the rules discriminate against gay people.

Bishop Johnson has acknowledged that several statements in the Book of Discipline on gay issues are discriminatory, specifically those forbidding ordination of homosexuals and forbidding pastors from conducting same sex marriages.

The clergy board acted on Thursday morning in a brief 15-minute session attended by Schaefer after he refused to comply with the verdict.

“Rev. Schaefer met with the board of ordained ministry today and declared that he is not willing or able to uphold the laws of the Book of Discipline in its entirety in the future as required by the trial court’s verdict,” Johnson said in the statement.

“When asked to surrender his credentials as required by the verdict, he refused to do so,” Johnson said. “Therefore, because of his decision, the board was compelled by the jury’s decision to deem his credentials surrendered.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
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…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

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."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

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…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

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…

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.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.