Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 7:24 pm
A Methodist minister in Pennsylvania, who was defrocked last year for presiding over his son's same-sex wedding, has been reinstated by the church.
A nine-person appeals panel of the United Methodist Church ordered Frank Schaefer's pastoral credentials restored, saying "the jury that convicted him last year erred when fashioning his punishment," according to The Associated Press.
"I've devoted my life to this church, to serving this church, and to be restored and to be able to call myself a reverend again and to speak with this voice means so much to me," an exultant Schaefer told the AP.
He said he intends to work for gay rights "with an even stronger voice from within the United Methodist Church."
Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pa., was first suspended for having officiated at his son's 2007 wedding and subsequently stripped of his pastoral credentials after he refused to uphold the Methodist ban on clergy performing same-sex marriages.