A Methodist judicial council on Saturday affirmed an appeals panel's reversal of the conviction of Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked because he presided at the wedding of his gay son.

According to Reuters, the decision was based on technical grounds and did not touch on the issue of marriage equality. The nine-member council, the church's highest judicial body, said that it found “no errors in the application of the church law and judicial decisions.”

While serving as pastor of Zion United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Shaefer, who has three gay children, presided at the 2007 wedding of his son Tim Schaefer to another man in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize such unions in 2004.

Last year, the church defrocked Schaefer, saying his acceptance of gay unions went against the Protestant denomination's Book of Discipline, which accepts gay members but rejects homosexual acts as “incompatible with Christian teachings.”

Schaefer, who has repeatedly called the church's position discriminatory, applauded the ruling in a statement, calling it a “small, but significant step toward taking another look at the exclusionary policies of the United Methodist Church.”

“Their decision signals hope to our LGBTQ community that has not always seen the rule of love and grace winning over the letter of the archaic law the church still subscribes to,” he said. “Today’s decision also signals a willingness to continue dialogue and to seek solutions that will hopefully lead to a change in these archaic and harmful policies.”

An appeals panel in June also found Schaefer guilty but reduced the penalty to a 30-day suspension, which it said he had already served, and ordered officials to “compensate Respondent for all lost salary and benefits dating from December 19, 2013.”

Schaefer is now a minister in Santa Barbara, California.