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
Local

New York Governor Cuomo's office intervened in corruption…

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's office meddled with a commission he created to root out corruption in state politics, pushing back whenever it focused on groups tied to Cuomo, the…

International

South Korea ferry fugitive found dead with bags…

By Ju-min Park and Sohee KimSUNCHEON/INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - South Korea's most wanted man, whose heavily decomposed body was found in an orchard last…

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

Movies

Interview: 'Happy Christmas' director Joe Swanberg on making…

"Happy Christmas" filmmaker Joe Swanberg talks about the collaborative nature of his films with name actors and the difficulties of getting indies seen.

Gossip

Is Justin Bieber now a Calvin Klein underwear…

A source told the Daily Mail that Justin Bieber "has shot for Calvin Klein" and that they "hope the results will be released later this year." While probably…

Gossip

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Movies

Interview: Melanie Lynskey on making it up as…

"Happy Christmas" star Melanie Lynskey talks about what it's like to be in the largely improvised films of Joe Swanberg and the subplot they didn't shoot.

NFL

3 storylines to watch as Jets open training…

Jets head coach Rex Ryan might be in for an even tougher job in 2014 after arguably his best coaching job last season.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.