Lebanon County pastor faces trial for officiating son’s gay marriage

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A United Methodist Pastor’s job is on the line for officiating the marriage of his gay son back in 2007.

Pastor Frank Schaefer is a Reverend at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon County.

An anonymous phone caller tipped Schaefer off that his at the time teenage son was gay. “She wanted to remain anonymous. She told me my son Tim was trying to commit suicide. It was over his sexual orientation, that he was gay,” said Schaefer. “At first I didn’t believe it, I said there is no way he is gay. I never saw any signs. My wife and I decided to talk to him about it. He admitted he was gay and told us he had prayed to God to make him ‘normal’ to make him heterosexual. As soon as he said that my wife and I just rallied around him, and just hugged him and told him we love you. We just affirmed him and said obviously you did not choose this. This is the way you were created.”

After that moment Schaefer made the decision to support his son, even when he asked him to perform his marriage. “The love for my son outweighed my fear of losing my job,” said Schaefer.

In 2007 Pastor Frank Schaefer officiated his son Tim’s marriage in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage.

Now, six years later Schaefer is in trouble with the church. His actions violated church law. “According to the United Methodist Doctrinal or book of law it is a chargeable offense. United Methodist Ministers are not allowed to marry same-sex people, or perform a holy union service,” said Schaefer. Now his job and church are on the line. “I am on trial. I am going to be on trial November 18th. The United Methodist Church has filed charges against me.”

A candlelight Vigil will be held next month, for Pastor Frank Schaefer, ahead of his trial. For more information click here