The United Methodist Church has dropped
charges against a pastor who officiated at the wedding of his son to
another man in New York, which legalized gay marriage in 2011.
The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, 80, was
formally charged with violating church law, which prohibits gay
unions. The trial was expected to open Monday at First United
Methodist Church in Stamford, Connecticut.
Ogletree and Bishop Martin McLee
jointly announced that the church was dropping its case at a press
conference held in White Plains, New York.
McLee also pledged that he would not
prosecute pastors for ministering to LGBT people.
“I am grateful that Bishop McLee has
withdrawn this case and the church is no longer prosecuting me for an
act of pastoral faithfulness and fatherly love,” Ogletree said.
“But I am even more grateful that he is vowing not to prosecute
others who have been likewise faithful in ministry to LGBTQ people.
May our bishop's commitment to cease such prosecutions be the
beginning of the end of the United Methodist Church's misguided era
of discrimination against LGBTQ people.”
Last year, the church defrocked pastor
Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania. Schaefer, who has three gay
children, was found guilty of violating church law for officiating at
his gay son's wedding.
Schaefer, pastor defrocked over gay wedding, considering job offer.)
The Rev. Randall Paige of Christ Church
UMC in Port Jefferson Station, New York led in filing the complaint
against Ogletree. A wedding announcement in The New York Times
prompted Paige and others to act.