United Methodists will try retired Yale dean Thomas Ogletree

January 17

A retired United Methodist pastor and former Yale Divinity School dean will face a March 10 church trial for officiating at the 2012 wedding of his son to another man.

The trial for the Rev. Thomas Ogletree, 80, follows a bruising drama that concluded last month when the denomination defrocked a Pennsylvania pastor who was tried on the same charge.

“I could not with any integrity as a Christian refuse my son’s request to preside at his wedding,” said Ogletree, Friday (Jan. 17), in a statement. He has previously stated he has no regrets and would preside again at a same-sex wedding, if asked.

The announcement of a new trial comes as United Methodist clergy are openly defying church rules on ministering to gays and lesbians. The denomination defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and bans clergy from performing and churches from hosting same-sex ceremonies.

In December, the denomination stripped Frank Schaefer of his clergy credentials after a November trial found him guilty of officiating at the 2007 wedding of his son to another man. Several other clergy trials are possible in the near future.

The New York Conference, to which Ogletree belongs, has passed resolutions supporting same-sex marriage. But Bishop Martin D. McLee has said that until the denomination’s laws change, he was obligated to follow church law.

Ogletree has said his actions were motivated by love and justice, not ecclesiastical disobedience, and that bad law should be challenged.

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