MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A reverend’s fight to remain in the clergy has reached Memphis.
Reverend Frank Schaefer went before the United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council at the DoubleTree Downtown Wednesday.
Schaefer was defrocked last year because he officiated his gay son’s wedding.
After he appealed that decision, the church reinstated him.
However, the church is now appealing his reinstatement, because it alleges Schaefer has not upheld his punishment.
“He only had to decide whether or not he could abide by the United Methodist polity,” said Dr. Chris Fisher, representing the church in the proceedings.
Schaefer explained to WREG that once it was determined that he couldn’t agree to refuse to marry other LGBT couples in the future, he didn’t hand in his credentials.
“I am willing to uphold every other rule, except for this one, because it’s discrimination,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer’s counsel argued that he could not be punished for something that has not happened yet.
The Judicial Council will make a decision sometime after October 25th.
The hearing took place in Memphis, because the council travels around various regions, and it was the southeastern area’s turn.
Schaefer said three of his four children identify as LGBT and he wants to continue to fight for inclusion from within the church.
“Absolutely no regrets. I did what I did based on my heart and my conscience. What I did for my son, quite frankly, I had to do,” Schaefer said.