LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ)—A Pennsylvania pastor defrocked after performing his gay son’s wedding comes to Maryland to appeal that ruling.
Mary Bubala has the story.
The hearing in front of an appeals committee for the United Methodist Church was held at a hotel near BWI-Marshall Airport.
Reverend Frank Schaefer walked into the hearing in Linthicum surrounded by his family and supporters.
In December, the United Methodist Church stripped him of his religious credentials after Schaefer officiated his son’s same-sex marriage and he said he would perform others in the future if asked.
“I did it out of love for my son,” said Frank Schaefer, defrocked pastor.
“United Methodist Church rules outlined in its book of discipline describes homosexuality as ‘incompatible with Christian teaching.’ It also states ‘ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers.'”
Spokesperson John Coleman read a church statement explaining the move against Schaefer.
“He no longer holds the ministerial office in the eastern Pennsylvania conference by virtue of his decision,” Coleman said.
Since he was defrocked, Schaefer has become the leader of a movement to change the church’s policy on gay marriage.
Supporters are rallying around Schaefer, hoping he is allowed back in the church.
“This is a very important moment in the life of the church. It will determine whether justice is going to be done,” said Scott Campbell, Schaefer’s attorney.
“Today defines the movement for Pastor Frank, what he’s brought to the LGBT community, to Christians. Today is a huge day for us and we are really hopeful about the appeal, absolutely,” said Clydette Overturf, pastor’s wife.
A decision on the appeal is expected as early as Saturday.
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