A church in Pennsylvania has fired their pastor for officiating a same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremony contrary to the congregation’s stand on the Biblical definition of marriage.
While the name of the church has not been revealed, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham has spoken to several outlets about the circumstances surrounding the recent termination of Ken Kline Smeltzer.
As previously reported, following the Supreme Court ruling striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), D. Bruce Hanes, a register of wills in Montgomery County, took it upon himself to begin issuing “marriage” licenses to homosexuals. However, same-sex “marriage” is illegal in Pennsylvania, as it has a marriage law on the books outlining that it is the “strong and longstanding policy of [the] Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman.”
Goreham then announced that she would marry anyone who received a license from Hanes. However, she was told that in doing so, she could be violating her oath of office.
Therefore, Goreham contacted Ken Kline Smeltzer, a minister affiliated with the Church of the Brethren denomination. She asked if he would be willing to officiate the ceremonies instead, and he agreed.
Last month, Smeltzer “wed” Joseph Davis and Gregory Scalzo in a ceremony at Goreham’s house in State College, Pennsylvania. According to the Centre Daily Times, he had prepared a statement beforehand notating that he agreed to officiate the service because the two men “are very much in love and obviously committed to each other.”
However, as Smeltzer’s congregation believes that the Bible prohibits homosexual behavior, and therefore is in opposition to same-sex “marriage,” they decided to boot him as their shepherd.
“He doesn’t regret performing the wedding and he is very supportive of marriage equality,” Goreham told local television station WTAJ. “He’s sorry that the church and he were not able to work it out, but he stands by his act and would do it again.”
Smeltzer’s wife Bonnie pastors a separate “church,” University Baptist and Brethren Church (UBBC) in State College, which is supportive of the homosexual lifestyle. She issued a statement on Thursday to alert the public that any reports that UBBC had fired her husband were inaccurate, as he served as minister at a separate location. However, the name of the church Smeltzer led is not being revealed.
“UBBC is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA and the Church of the Brethren and is a member of two organizations representing congregations whose welcome clearly includes gays and lesbians: the Supportive Communities Network of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests and the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists,” the UBBC website outlines.
Response to Smetlzer’s firing has been mixed.
“Just yet another example of a church that hates gays more than it loves God,” one commenter named Michael wrote. “And they wonder why a record number of Americans now want absolutely nothing to do with American Christianity?”
“Nice to see a church upholding Scripture as the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality,” stated another named Jody, who cited Romans 1; Leviticus 18 and 20 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. “God loves all men but He will not countenance sin; He died to remove it! By rejecting His tremendous gift, we slap His Divine face! Homosexuals and those for such unions need to experience the salvation He died to give us all rather than live as they please. When we finally surrender to His will, we will be at true peace!”