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Methodist panel overturns Lebanon pastor's defrocking - abc27 WHTM

Methodist panel overturns Lebanon pastor's defrocking

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LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) -

A United Methodist Church appeals panel has overturned the penalty imposed on a Lebanon pastor who was defrocked after officiating at his son's same-sex wedding.

The nine-person appeals panel on Tuesday upheld a 30-day suspension 52-year-old Frank Schaefer has already served.

Schaefer's credentials will be restored immediately and he will be compensated for all lost salary and benefits.

"It was like waiting for Christmas as a child," Schaefer said after learning the news. "Was I going to get the toy I wanted, or was I going to get a bunch of coal under the tree?"

Schaefer was suspended last year for performing his son's 2007 wedding in Massachusetts. Then, his credentials were stripped when he refused to promise to never officiate another same-sex wedding.

In his appeal before the panel Friday, Schaefer's attorney argued the punishment was wrong because it was based on the assumption he would break church law in the future.

He said if another same-sex couple asked him to perform their wedding, he would.

"I said that I would not discriminate against anybody," he said. "I went on record during my trial and I would perform another same sex marriage."

Schaefer is considering an offer to lead a church in California. On Monday, he will attend an LGBT event hosted by President Obama at the White House.


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