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Pennsylvania Methodist pastor defrocked for officiating gay son's wedding appealing decision

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BALTIMORE - A United Methodist pastor defrocked after officiating at his son's same-sex wedding is appealing the church's decision.

A jury of pastors last year suspended Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, for presiding over his son's 2007 wedding ceremony in Massachusetts. Afterward, Schaefer's minister credentials were stripped when he refused to promise never to officiate another same-sex wedding.

On Friday, the 52-year-old Schaefer will argue before an appeals panel in Baltimore that his defrocking was illegal because it was based on the assumption that he will break church law in the future regarding same-sex marriages.

Schaefer is one of hundreds of Methodist ministers who have spoken against the church's doctrine on homosexuality. The church allows for gay members but bars them serving as clergy, and ministers are forbidden to perform same-sex marriages.

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