HRC Blog

Pastor’s Defrocking for Performing Son’s Same-Sex Wedding Overturned

ChurchToday a Methodist panel overturned its decision to defrock a pastor who officiated his son’s same-sex wedding in 2007.

In December, United Methodist church officials defrocked Rev. Frank Schaefer, a pastor from central Pennsylvania, for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding in Massachusetts, a move seen as contradictory to the denomination’s beliefs.

The decision comes following Rev. Schaefer’s appeal. According to the decision, Rev. Schaeffer will be back paid to when he was suspended in December. The church appeals panel also upheld the 30-day suspension that Schaefer served.

Rev. Frank Schaefer was served 30-day suspension for officiating the 2007 wedding of his gay son in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions are legal. He was then told to resign from the clergy if he could not follow the denomination's Book of Discipline.

Following the defrocking, Rev. Schaefer said that he would not surrender his clergy credentials and intended to continue to be an outspoken advocate for LGBT people.

Although the United Methodist Church accepts LGBT members, it rejects the practice of homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching."

Learn how HRC Foundation's Religion and Faith Program is changing the religious discourse on LGBT people by going to www.hrc.org/religion.

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