Methodist church to hear appeal over gay wedding

    The Methodist church’s highest court will decide later this month whether a minister who officiated his gay son’s wedding can keep his pastoral credentials.

    The Rev. Frank Schaefer was defrocked following a church trial in southeastern Pennsylvania last year, then re-instated by an appeals panel in June. That decision was appealed to the Judicial Council, the church’s highest court.

    The nine-member panel says it will hear oral arguments in the case Oct. 22 in Memphis, Tennessee.

    The issue of gay marriage has long divided the United Methodist Church. The nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination allows gay members but bans “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from becoming clergy and forbid ministers from performing same-sex marriages.

    Schaefer has since launched a student ministry in Isla Vista, California.

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