Approximately fifty Methodist clergy have filed a complaint against 36 pastors for jointly blessing the union of a same-sex couple.
The union ceremony was blessed by the pastors on November 9th at Philadelphia's Arch Street United Methodist Church and was intended to demonstrate solidarity with Rev. Frank Schaefer (shown above), who at the time was under church investigation for officiating his son's wedding to another man. Since then, Schaefer was defrocked as punishment and then eventually "re-frocked" after an appeal reassessing the severity of his punishment.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the ministers who filed the complaint initially delayed their action in anticipation that Bishop Peggy Johnson would respond to the ceremony. Under church law, clergy are prohibited from performing same-sex unions and ministers themselves cannot be openly gay. When it became clear Bishop Johnson wasn't going to take action, the ministers filed the complaint.
Officially filing a complaint forces Bishop Johnson to take an action on the matter. According to Philly.com, "Under the church's disciplinary rules, a complaint triggers negotiations to find a resolution both sides can agree on. If that fails, the bishop can dismiss the complaint if he or she has good reason, or refer it to the church's counsel, initiating a trial."
Bishop Peggy Johnson commented that she will be following the church's disciplinary process and is "prayerful that a just resolution can be achieved."