Rev. Frank Schaefer was officially relieved of this duties and clerical credentials in what is termed being "defrocked" in the United Methodist Church. The Methodist Church has been having internal struggles over the issue of gay marriage for years and the battle is becoming bitter.
"I guess I took it harder than I thought I would," Schaefer said. "I was prepared for it, but it's traumatic."
At last year's Methodist Convention, the coalition of pastors supporting gay marriage and a gay clergy tried to push the Church to amend its Book of Discipline. They lost that vote, but they remain steadfast in their determination to force the issue. Now, with Rev. Schaefer's defrocking, pastors are coming out in open rebellion to the Methodist Church's ban on gay marriage.
Ironically, Schaefer was defrocked as a lesson to other pastors of what treatment awaits them if they do not toe the line. Last month, 36 Methodist pastors jointly recited the marriage vows to a homosexual couple on the steps of local Methodist church. The two men in question had been in a relationship for over 25 years. One online blog contains multiple posts from New York Methodist pastors who have been proudly officiating over same-sex marriages. It is quite apparent that the disciplinary action over Schaefer, who officiated at his son's same-sex marriage, was defrocked for purely symbolic reasons that do not appear to be working at silencing the opposition.
On The Web:
Defrocking of Minister Widens Split Over Gays