Methodist Church appeals Schaefer's reinstatement

Posted: July 20, 2014

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, recently reinstated as a Methodist minister after losing his credentials for presiding over his gay son's wedding, has one more legal battle ahead.

The Methodist Church is appealing his reinstatement to its highest judicial board, according to Schaefer.

Schaefer, formerly of Lebanon, Pa., and now working as a minister in California, said he wasn't surprised by the move. He said it worried him, but he also sees it as an opportunity for the LGBT cause.

"I think it will be great if we could win this," he said. "It would really indicate that the church is on a different course."

The Rev. Chris Fisher, who prosecuted the case for the church, could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

Schaefer's story gained national attention - and served to polarize both sides of the gay-rights debate in the church - when he was charged last year with breaking doctrinal law by officiating at his son Tim's same-sex wedding in 2007 in Massachusetts.

He was found guilty by a jury of his peers in a church trial and defrocked, then reinstated last month in Baltimore by an appeal panel of lay members and clergy from the church's northeast jurisdiction.

Schaefer said the next appeal will be heard by the church's Judicial Council, the equivalent of its Supreme Court, in October in Memphis, Tenn.



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