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Methodist pastor’s defrocking over son’s gay marriage is overturned

BALTIMORE – A United Methodist Church appeals panel has overturned the church’s decision to defrock a pastor who presided over his son’s same-sex wedding ceremony and said he would perform other gay marriages if asked.

A nine-person church appeals panel issued an opinion Tuesday reversing a lower church court decision.

The church suspended Frank Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, last year for officiating his son’s 2007 wedding. The church then defrocked Schaefer because he wouldn’t promise never to preside over another gay ceremony.

Schaefer appealed, arguing the decision was wrong because it was based on an assumption he would break church law in the future.

The church appeals panel upheld a 30-day suspension that Schaefer has already served. It also says he should get back pay dating to when the suspension ended in December.

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