A United Methodist Church panel on
Tuesday reversed the conviction of Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked
because he presided at the wedding of his gay son.
According to the
AP, the nine-member panel concluded that the punishment was too harsh.
Schaefer, who had been the pastor of
Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania
presided over the 2007 wedding of his son Tim Schaefer to another man
in Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2004.
The Protestant denomination's Book of
Discipline accepts gay and lesbian members but rejects homosexual
acts as “incompatible with Christian teachings.”
Officials last year defrocked Schaefer,
who has three gay children, after he called the church's position
discriminatory and refused to recant.
The appeals panel also found Schaefer
guilty but reduced the penalty to a 30-day suspension, which it said
he had already served.
The panel ordered officials to restore
Schaefer's credentials and “compensate Respondent for all lost
salary and benefits dating from December 19, 2013.”
The church has not said whether it
plans to pursue an appeal.