Methodist jury convicts pastor Frank Schaefer for officiating his gay son’s wedding
A United Methodist Church jury of fellow pastors sentenced him to a 30-day suspension after convicting him of violating church law for having officiated over his son’s same-sex wedding in 2007. At the end of the 30-day period, the Lebanon, Penn., pastor will be defrocked unless he renounces same-sex marriage, including his own son’s marriage.
I said to the jury, ‘Look, all of this, in the last few weeks, has really outed me to the world in terms of where I stand on my theology. I have become an advocate for the LGBT community. I can no longer be a silent supporter.
I cannot fathom how I would change my mind in that time or in any time. To me this is discrimination. It’s not right. So many people have been hurt. Not just my son – my children – but thousands of gay, lesbian bisexual, transgender people have been hurt by the church and by society. It has to stop. We’ve got to realize what we’re doing here with our theology, our doctrine, and really, our hate speech.
The two counts of which he was found guilty go back to Schaefer having officiated over his gay son’s wedding in 2007 in Massachusetts. Schaefer’s son, Tim Schaefer, had come out to him in 2000, when the pastor spoke to his son after an anonymous caller told him his son was gay and was contemplating suicide.
“We said to him, ‘You are made in the image of God just like everyone else,” Schaefer said, thinking back to when his son first described his struggles with his homosexuality. “So when he asked me in 2007, ‘Dad, would you do my wedding?’ I was just honored.”