Pa. pastor appeals defrocking over gay wedding

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 20, 2013 at 1:20 am •  Published: December 20, 2013
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Schaefer said he told officials Thursday morning that he could not follow a book that he feels is contradictory and biased against gays. He refused to voluntarily surrender his credentials when asked by the board president.

"To which she said, 'Well, we're taking them.' And that was the end of it," Schaefer said.

Schaefer, making his remarks at a gay-friendly, or "reconciling," Methodist church in Philadelphia, had held out hope as late as Thursday morning that officials would have a change of heart.

"I said to myself, 'You know, I just can't see them taking my credentials.' I mean, what I did was an act of love for my son. And they did anyhow," he said.

The closely watched church decision came down the same day as a flurry of other news demonstrating the societal split on gays and lesbians:

— New Mexico's highest court declared it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. It joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage either through legislation, court rulings or public votes.

— Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano came out as gay two days after he was named to the U.S. delegation for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, along with openly gay athletes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow. President Barack Obama's decision to include openly gay athletes in the delegation is widely seen as a message to Russia about its treatment of gays and lesbians.

— Key supporters came to the defense of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson, who was suspended Wednesday from the A&E reality series indefinitely after making disparaging remarks about gays. Sarah Palin posted a picture on Facebook of her with the reality show clan with the message, "Free Speech is an endangered species," and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also lamented the suspension on free speech terms.

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Associated Press writer Michael Rubinkam and AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll contributed to this report.

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