RELIGION
11/18/2013 08:23 am ET Updated Nov 18, 2013

Frank Schaefer, Pennsylvania Pastor, Facing Church Trial Over Gay Marriage

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Pennsylvania pastor charged under United Methodist law with officiating his son's same-sex marriage is scheduled to go on trial.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer could be defrocked if a jury comprised of fellow Methodist clergy convicts him of breaking his pastoral vows by officiating the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts.

The nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination accepts gay and lesbian members, but rejects the practice of homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching."

The issue has split the church. Hundreds of Methodist ministers have publicly rejected church doctrine on homosexuality, and some of them face discipline for presiding over same-sex unions.

Schaefer's trial will take place Monday at a Methodist retreat in Spring City, Pa.

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