Bishop: I tried hard to avoid trial for pastor who officiated gay son’s wedding

Rev. Frank Schaefer

Rev. Frank Schaefer

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — A United Methodist official in Pennsylvania says she didn’t want to put a pastor on trial for officiating at his gay son’s wedding.

Bishop Peggy Johnson says she tried “very, very, very hard to avoid this trial.” But she says she had to follow the Methodist Book of Discipline, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Johnson’s remarks came Thursday after about two dozen people delivered a petition to church offices in Norristown.

The 25,000-signature petition was organized online by the group Faithful America, and asks Johnson to stop holding religious trials for ministers who perform gay weddings,

A church jury on Tuesday suspended the Rev. Frank Schaefer for 30 days for officiating at the marriage of his gay son in Massachusetts.

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The jury ordered Schaefer to surrender his credentials in a month if he can’t bring himself to adhere to the laws of the church’s Book of Discipline.

Schaefer said he had no intention of changing his mind about the church’s teaching on homosexuality, declaring he would perform more gay marriages if asked.

The Methodist church says it accepts gay and lesbian members but rejects the practice of homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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