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Lebanon Methodist pastor appeals his defrocking

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 20, 2014 1:37 PM
frank_shaefer6.jpg

Photo by Associated Press photo/Matt Rourke

Former United Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer speaks during a news conference, Thursday, December 19, 2013, at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia. United Methodist church officials have defrocked Schaefer, who officiated his son's gay wedding in Massachusetts.

(Linthicum) -- A United Methodist pastor defrocked after officiating at his son's same-sex wedding argued before a nine-person church appeals panel that the decision should be overturned.

Today, the panel in Maryland heard arguments from 52-year-old Frank Schaefer of Lebanon. His minister credentials were stripped when he refused to promise never to officiate another same-sex wedding after serving a 30-day suspension for presiding over his son's ceremony.

Schaefer's attorney, Reverend Scott Campbell, argued that Schaefer's defrocking was illegal because it was based on the assumption that he would break church law in the future.

Counsel for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference argued that Schaefer disobeyed the church's doctrine, and that the punishment should stand.

The appeals panel has 20 days to issue a decision.

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