Pa. pastor stands church trial over gay marriage

Pa. pastor stands church trial over gay marriage

(AP) Pa. pastor stands church trial over gay marriage
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM
Associated Press
SPRING CITY, Pa.
A United Methodist minister who officiated at his son’s same-sex wedding has pleaded not guilty to charges that he broke his pastoral vows.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon entered his plea Monday at the beginning of a church trial in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Schaefer could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to suspension to losing his minister’s credentials if a jury composed of fellow Methodist clergy convicts him of breaking church law that bans clergy from performing same-sex weddings.

The church’s attorney, the Rev. Christopher Fisher, told the 13-member jury in his opening statement that Schaefer clearly violated the Methodist Book of Discipline by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts.

Schaefer’s attorney, the Rev. Robert Coombe, told the jury that Schaefer simply extended God’s love to his son.

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