Frank Schaefer was defrocked late last year after the United Methodist Church (UMC) found him guilty of disobeying church law. His violation: performing his son's gay wedding in 2007. Schaefer appealed that decision, and on Tuesday a nine-person church panel ruled that his credentials will be reinstated.
Schaefer was originally suspended for 30 days but was defrocked after he refused to promise never to officiate a same-sex wedding in the future. The appeals panel concluded that the convicting jury's punishment was illegal under church law: "revoking his credentials cannot be squared with the well-established principle that our clergy can only be punished for what they have been convicted of doing in the past, not for what they may or may not do in the future."
He will get back pay to when his suspension ended in December.
The UMC Book of Discipline, which contains the church's laws and doctrines, forbids celebrations of same-sex marriages and asserts that the practice of homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching."
Reason TV's recent documentary on Schaefer and the controversary of gay marriage within the UMC was first published on May 16, 2014: