Thirty-one Pennsylvania Methodist
ministers plan on jointly officiating over the marriage of a gay
couple to show solidarity with a colleague preparing to stand trial
for presiding at his gay son's wedding.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer, pastor at Zion
United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, faces
suspension or the possibility of being defrocked for presiding over
the wedding of his son Tim.
The wedding took place in 2007 in
Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2004.
A complaint was filed against Schaefer
by one of his congregants just 26 days before the church's statute of
limitations would have expired.
He is accused of breaching the church's
Book of Discipline, the denomination's law book, which prohibits
clergy from performing “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual
Schaefer's church trial begins November
According to The
Philadelphia Inquirer, the names of the couple and the
location of the ceremony are not being made public. Another ten
ministers are considering joining the original 31, said the Rev.
David Brown of the Arch Street United Church in Philadelphia.
“The more we get, the harder it will
be for the church – it's not impossible – the harder it will be
to go after any one person to take away their [religious] orders,”
Brown told the paper.
Pennsylvania currently does not allow
gay couples to marry.