New York pastor who performed son's gay wedding faces church trial

Zachary Cook

By Zachary Cook

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Methodist pastor in New York is facing a church disciplinary proceeding for officiating at his son's same-sex marriage ceremony in 2012 in violation of church doctrine, church officials said on Friday.

The complaint against Rev. Thomas Ogletree comes one month after a Methodist pastor in Pennsylvania was defrocked when a church trial found him guilty of officiating at his son's same-sex wedding.

A complaint was filed against Thomas Ogletree after fellow Methodist clergymen saw his son's wedding announcement in the New York Times. Ogletree officiated at the marriage of Thomas Rimbey Ogletree to Nicholas William Haddad at the Yale Club of New York, according to the announcement.

"We take no joy in bringing this complaint. We do it in obedience to Christ and the laws of our Church," said the Rev. Randy Paige of Long Island, New York, one of the clergy who filed the complaint.

The church trial has been scheduled for March 10.

Ogletree, 80, is a retired Yale Divinity School dean who has been a member of the clergy for more than six decades.

Last December, Rev. Frank Schaefer, a pastor in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was found guilty of violating church law and being disobedient by performing the ceremony for his son, Tim, and another man. Schaefer said he was appealing the decision and has refused to promise that he would not perform any more gay weddings.

Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage. Little more than a decade ago, none of the 50 U.S. states recognized same-sex marriage. That shift in state policy has put pressure on U.S. churches, many of which take a strong stance against same-sex marriage, to respond.

"I think it is a travesty," Dorothee Benz, a spokesman for Ogletree, said of the church's actions. "It is such a myopic decision over love."

(Editing by Edith Honan and Gunna Dickson)