Pastor Found Guilty Of Violating Church Law For Officiating Same-Sex Marriage
By Ileana Diaz
SPRING CITY, Pa. (CBS) —A Pennsylvania pastor who officiated a same sex marriage has reportedly been found guilty of “violating the church’s law” and “breaking the law and order of the United Methodist Church.”
Earlier on Monday, church members sang prayers outside for Pastor Frank Schaefer.
He was being tried by the United Methodist Church after he officiated the marriage of his son to another man in a small ceremony in Massachusetts, a state where same-sex marriage is legal.
Michelle Bartlow, a local official of the Methodist Church said, “Our law of the Church states he can’t perform same-sex union and it’s alleged he did.”
The pastor took the stand and admitted he did it out of love for his son back in 2007, but it wasn’t until April of 2013 that a church member, who attends once a year, filed a complaint against Schaefer and prompted the church trial.
Bartlow questioned, “Were there circumstances around his violation that would mitigate the violation of law?”
Pastor Schaefer could lose his collar, so Methodists traveled from Illinois and Ohio to be there for him, and they were wearing stolls as support.
Some supporters of Schaefer were brought to tears by the situation.
Ed Hoar, a church member said, “It’s the gap between what I feel the church’s mission should be, and what it actually is in these acts.”
Hoar was present nine years ago after lesbian minister Beth Stroud was defrocked by the United Methodist Church, and he said this is equally upsetting.
“I believe the Church is supposed to be advocates for the marginalized and the oppressed and these particular acts by the Church are making people marginalized and making them oppressed.”
The trial could have been avoided if Schaefer agreed to never perform a same-sex wedding again but Schaefer chose to fight the charges and plead not guilty. He explained that three of his four children are gay.
Since Pastor Schaefer has allegedly been found guilty, the jury can decide to remove his certification or go with penalty as small as a few days of suspension.