A Pennsylvania pastor who officiated at his gay son’s wedding and received a 30-day suspension Tuesday from his church said he won’t back down from his stance on marriage equality.
Wearing a rainbow-colored stole at the church proceedings, the Rev. Frank Schaefer of the Zion Methodist Church in Iona, Pa., said he would continue to be an advocate for LGBT rights.
"I can no longer be a silent supporter, but that now I feel I have to be an advocate, an outspoken advocate, for all lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual people." Schaefer said, according to CBS News.
Methodists don’t allow same-sex marriages, and Schaefer was warned that he could no longer be a part of the church if he disobeys its teachings during his 30-day suspension. The pastor said he expects to be defrocked in the coming days over his stance on LGBT issues.
"I'm here to tell you that I will not change my mind," Schaefer said during his trial. "What I said tonight is the truth and the full truth, and so we'll see how the church is going to deal with it in 30 days."
Schaefer, who received the punishment Tuesday for officiating at his gay son’s 2007 wedding in Massachusetts, said it’s his church that needs to change, not him.
“We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Schaefer told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that he would officiate at a gay wedding during his suspension if he’s asked to.
“If they qualify … yes I would do it,” he said, adding that LGBT individuals are treated as second-class citizens in his church.
While Schaefer has some support at Zion Methodist Church, other congregants think the jury made the right decision.
"Honestly, to not defrock him sends a message that I think would be hurtful in the long run," member Christina Watson told CBS News.