Pennsylvania pastor facing church trial over gay marriage

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, right, and his son Tim, whose same-sex marriage Schaefer officiated, contrary to church law.

MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press

SPRING CITY, Pa. (AP) â?? Supporters are holding signs and singing hymns ahead of the church trial in southeastern Pennsylvania for a United Methodist pastor who could be defrocked for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to suspension to losing his minister's credentials if a jury composed of fellow Methodist clergy convicts him of breaking his pastoral vows by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts.

Jury selection begins Monday morning at a Methodist retreat in Spring City.

Schaefer's supporters have gathered outside the building where the trial will take place. They argue that church teaching on homosexuality is outmoded.

But a pastor who's also attending the trial says Schaefer's trial isn't about gay rights, but about his breaking of church law.

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