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30 day suspension for pastor who presided over gay wedding - abc27 WHTM

30 day suspension for pastor who presided over gay wedding

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Rev. Frank Schaefer Rev. Frank Schaefer
SPRING CITY, Pa. (WHTM) -

UPDATE: Reverend Frank Schaefer was suspended for 30 days after being found guilty on Monday of presiding over his son's marriage to another man six years ago.

However, the sentence also stipulates that he must stop performing same-sex ceremonies or he'll be defrocked in 30 days.

He must also give up his new calling with the LGBT community within that time frame or hand in his credentials.

"I am no longer willing to accept the church's hate speeches, the church's treatment of people like they are second-rate Christians. We we must stop harming beloved children of God in the name of Christ," Schaefer said in a post-sentencing news conference.

Schaefer was convicted of performing a wedding that violates church practice and disobedience with the order of the church.

While his church welcomes gay and lesbian members, it rejects the practice of homosexuality.

Schaefer said he knew he was breaking the UMC Book of Discipline at the time, but he said he felt an obligation to perform the ceremony after his son -- who had struggled with his sexuality for years -- made the request.

During Tuesday's sentencing phase of his Chester County trial, jurors heard from more than a dozen witnesses. Some testified to Schaefer's "Christ-like" character, praising his acceptance of all types of worshipers.

"Through this whole experience he's shown nothing but unconditional love to everyone on both sides of the issue, so it's very saddening to me to watch him have to deal with this," church member Ellyn Ross said.

Others said they have left his church because of his outward "agenda" of implementing change in how the church treats the LGBT community.

"It seemed to me that he was trying to convince the congregation to be on his side, like, he had a side," witness and former parishioner Christina Watson said.

Schaefer testified that he will not repent his action, and that God has chosen him to be an advocate for gay rights in the church.

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