After officiating his son’s same-sex marriage in 2007, Rev. Franks Schaefer was sentenced to a 30-day suspension convicting him of violating church law. But that’s not the end of it. After the 30-day period, the pastor will be defrocked unless he speaks our renouncing gay marriage including his son’s.
“I didn’t do this to make a rebellious statement against the church,” said Rev. Franks Schaefer last Friday.
Schaefer recounted his statements to the jury as a moment of honesty wherein he openly challenged the leadership of the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, which preaches that homosexuality is “not compatible with Christian teaching”. He said he would continue to marry any other gay or lesbian couple to come forward. Although there are currently none so far, he has until December 18.
“I cannot fathom how I would change my mind in that time or in any time,” says Schaefer. “To mi, this is discrimination. It’s not right. So many people have been hurt. Not just my son – my children – but thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people have been hurt by the church and by society. It has to stop. We’ve got to realize what we’re doing here with our theology, our doctrine, and really, our hate speech.”
His son Tim Schaefer came out to him in 2000. The pastor spoke to his son after he received an anonymous call telling him about his son’s sexuality and that his son is thinking about taking away his life.
Thinking back to when his son struggled with his sexuality, Schaefer told his son, “You are made in the image of God, just like everyone else.” When his son asked him in 2007, “Dad, would you do my wedding?” he felt honored.