The United Methodist Church today defrocked Rev. Frank Schaefer for officiating his son’s same-sex marriage, the Associated Press reports.
Last month a church court convicted the Pennsylvania pastor of violating Methodist law and suspended him from ministry for 30 days. Church officials had told him to resign by today if he could not follow the denomination’s Book of Discipline, which forbids pastors to perform such ceremonies, but he refused to comply.
“I cannot voluntarily surrender my credentials because I am a voice now for many — for tens of thousands — of LGBT members in our church,” he said at a press conference in Philadelphia Monday.
Schaefer was informed of his defrocking at a brief meeting with Methodist officials today, according to the AP report. He left without commenting to the press and said he would make a statement on the matter later in the day.
Earlier, he said, “I am actively committing to having those discriminatory laws changed and banished from our Book of Discipline. That’s the only way I can reconcile being a United Methodist at this point.”
Schaefer, pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pa., officiated at his son’s wedding in Massachusetts in 2007; three of the minister’s four children are gay. The matter did not come to the church hierarchy’s attention until this year, shortly before the statute of limitations on it ran out, when a member of Schaefer’s congregation complained.