EAST VINCENT TWP., Pa. - A United Methodist minister from Lebanon County, convicted of breaking church law by officiating at the same-sex wedding of his son in Massachusetts, said he is unrepentant and refused to promise he wouldn't perform more gay unions.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer testified Tuesday at the penalty phase of his church trial in East Vincent Twp., Chester Co. Schaefer could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to a suspension to losing his minister's credentials.
Schaefer told jurors he has been called by God to be an advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. He said the church needs to stop treating them as "second-class Christians."
A jury of Methodist clergy people convicted Schaefer on Monday of breaking a church law that forbids pastors from marrying same-sex partners.
The jurors got the penalty phase of the case late Tuesday afternoon and have started deliberating.
Allentown, PA 18102