Methodist pastor vows to continue to support LGBT equality under threat of defrocking

Methodist minister Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was convicted under church law by a jury of United Methodist Pastors of officiating at his son's marriage to another man, was suspended for 30 days and told he will lose his credentials if he violates any of the church's laws during his suspension. He was also told that if he can't discontinue his call to ministry with the LGBT community, including to his own son, with church law he must surrender his credentials.

After the sentence was handed down, Rev. Schaefer told reporters that he expects to lose his credentials since he does not intend to change his mind. After the sentence supporters of the pastor began turning over chairs in the court, which was symbolic of Jesus flipping the tables of the money changers in the temple. 

 “I feel I have to be an advocate, an outspoken advocate for all lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people,” Schaefer told reporters after learning his sentence, adding that he expects to be defrocked when his 30-day suspension is up. Rather than beg for mercy, the pastor upped the stakes. 

The church "needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation," he told jurors. "We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second class Christians."

The Washington Post has more about the story.

"Rev. Shaefer is one of many United Methodist pastors who are following the calling to provide ministry for LGBT people, and we stand in solidarity with him and all clergy who choose to follow the call to ministry rather than the discriminatory rules of the United Methodist Church," said Ross Murray of GLAAD. "We will be hearing more about Rev. Schaefer and his incredibly courageous support for full LGBT equality. His courage inspires others."