A United Methodist Church jury has
convicted and sentenced Pennsylvania Pastor Frank Schaefer for
officiating over his son's marriage to another man.
Schaefer, pastor at Zion United
Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, presided over the 2007 wedding
of his son Tim Schaefer in Massachusetts, which legalized gay
marriage in 2004.
A jury of 13 fellow pastors on Monday
convicted Schaefer of breaking church law and suspended him for 30
An unrepentant Schaefer, who has three
gay children, told the jury before being sentenced that the church
“needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation.
We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treated them as
Schaefer was told he would need to
surrender his credentials if he could not reconcile his teachings
with church doctrine.
According to the AP, Schaefer's
supporters began overturning chairs in the courtroom in response to
As some supporters wept, Schaefer
pledged to “never be silent again.”
Schaefer said that he informed his
superiors that he planned to officiate at his son's wedding before
the ceremony took place.
It wasn't until 26 days before the
church's statute of limitations would have expired that a complaint
was filed against Schaefer by one of his congregrants that the church
took action against him.
Jon Boger, the congregant who filed the
complaint against Schaefer, said on the witness stand that Schaefer
“should no longer be in service as a minister of the United
Methodist Church, not at Iona, not anywhere else.”