In a follow up to this original story, it appears the trial has begun. I hope that even if Rev. Schaeffer is found guilty, he will not lose his ministerial credentials.
SPRING CITY, Pa. (AP) — A United Methodist minister who officiated at his son’s same-sex wedding pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he broke his pastoral vows.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon entered his plea at the beginning of a high-profile church trial in southeastern Pennsylvania that is rekindling debate over the denomination’s policy on gay marriage.
Schaefer could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to losing his minister’s credentials if a jury composed of fellow Methodist clergy convicts him of breaking church law that bans clergy from performing same-sex weddings.
The church’s attorney, the Rev. Christopher Fisher, told the 13-member jury in his opening statement that Schaefer clearly violated the Methodist Book of Discipline by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts. He said the complainant — a member of Schaefer’s congregation — was dismayed and shocked when he learned of the ceremony earlier this year.