Reverend Frank Schaefer, who officiated his gay son’s wedding, is being asked to give up his religious credentials. However, Schaefer said he wants to stay with the church as a voice for change.
“I cannot voluntarily surrender my credentials because I am a force now for many, for tens of thousands of LGBT members in our church,” Schaefer said.
He is currently serving a 30-day suspension at his Pennsylvania Methodist church for leading his son’s wedding in 2007. While the church accepts LGBT members, they reject practicing homosexuality because it’s “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
“I cannot uphold the United Methodist Book of Discipline in its entirety,” Schaefer said. “I just cannot. In fact, I don’t believe anyone can.”
Schaefer finds the book full of contradictory statements and said laws affecting his son in the Methodist church are the most difficult.
“In particular, I cannot uphold those discriminatory laws…that are hurtful and harmful to our homosexual brothers and sisters in the church,” he said.
Though being asked to give up his credentials, Schaefer said he won’t do so willingly and that the church will have to defrock him or keep them in place in order to let him be the “LGBT voice in the church.”
Thirty ministers signed a petition being presented to Bishop Peggy Johnson to show support, asking her to stop holding religious trials to pastors who perform gay marriage.
“I’d prefer to remain a United Methodist minister so I can do work…towards dismantling the discrimination,” Schaefer said.