A United Methodist minister who was suspended for officiating at his son’s gay marriage said on Monday he will not voluntarily surrender his religious credentials even though he cannot uphold his church’s doctrines on issues relating to same-sex marriage.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa., was convicted of violating church doctrine by performing a same-sex marriage when he officiated at his son’s nuptials in 2007 in Massachusetts. On Nov. 19, he was suspended for 30 days and asked to agree to abide by church doctrine, as outlined in the Methodist Book of Discipline, or to surrender his ministerial credentials.
“My honest answer is: No, I cannot uphold the United Methodist Book of Discipline,” Schaefer told a televised news conference in Philadelphia. “In fact, I don’t believe anybody can. It’s impossible to uphold the Discipline in its entirety because it is filled with competing and contradictory statements. It reflects the diversity of convictions we hold as United Methodists … In particular, the Discipline contains discriminatory laws and language that is hurtful and harmful to our LGBT brothers and sisters. That language denies them their full humanity.”
Schaefer went on to say he would not surrender his credentials.