Pa. minister faces church trial for performing son's gay wedding
LEBANON, Pa. - November 12, 2013 (WPVI) -- A church trial has been set for a Methodist minister in Pennsylvania who officiated at his son's same-sex marriage.
Rev. Frank Schaefer's congregation in Lebanon County held a vigil in support of the pastor on Sunday.
Schaefer, 51, could be suspended, reprimanded or lose his credentials because he performed a wedding ceremony for his son in 2007 in Massachusetts.
He had informed his superiors about it beforehand and did not face any consequences until April, when a congregant filed a complaint.
Methodist ministers are not allowed to perform same-sex marriages or civil unions.
Schaefer said nothing was more important to him than supporting his son, who he said had struggled with embracing his own sexual orientation.
"Had I said no to my son's request, that would have negated every affirmation that we gave him over all these years," he said.
The United Methodist Church formally accepts gay and lesbian members but teaches that homosexuality is not compatible with Christian teaching.
Schaefer's trial will begin Nov. 18 at a Methodist retreat in Spring City, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
He could avoid trial by agreeing not to perform another same-sex marriage, but he has decided not to do that.
Three of his four children are gay.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
pennsylvania news, gay marriage, local/state
- Mug shot released of McNabb after Ariz. arrest 1 min ago
- Partly sunny, a bit milder today
- Get the 6abc StormTracker app
- WATCH: Action News Online
- Police: Brandywine Park flasher surrenders
- $105,000 taken in Tacony armored car heist
- Reward offered in poisoning of puppy 40 min ago
- 1 dead in cement truck, car crash in Levittown 26 min ago
- Beau Biden to run for governor in Del. 32 min ago
- 5 injured in 7 vehicle wreck on I-95 in Del.
- Mom surrenders after daughter, 11, shot and killed
- Police: NJ mom drives van into river with 3 kids
- Popular chocolate maker shut down by city
- Teen urinates in Oregon drinking water supply