Pa. pastor says he was fired for same-sex wedding
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 7:33 p.m.
STATE COLLEGE — A congregation has fired its pastor for conducting the wedding of two men at a central Pennsylvania mayor's home, the pastor said.
The Rev. Ken Kline Smeltzer, 62, of Boalsburg told the Centre Daily Times that he married two Pike County men on Aug. 19 in the home of State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham.
Goreham had pledged to marry same-sex couples who came to her with licenses issued by Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes.
The county clerk issued 174 same-sex licenses since July before he was court ordered to stop this month by a Commonwealth Court judge who said Hanes didn't have the power to decide whether Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional. The law defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Hanes plans a state Supreme Court appeal.
Goreham decided against presiding at marriages herself, after borough officials told her that would violate her oath of office to uphold the state constitution and, instead, invited Smeltzer to preside.
“I knew he was an ordained minister. I don't know if we'd ever spoken about it. He loves to perform weddings and he thought about it and said ‘yes,' ” Goreham said.
Smeltzer did not immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press on Tuesday. Smeltzer refused to tell the newspaper which congregation fired him, because he acknowledged his views differ from that church's.
However, a newspaper ad online from The (Lewistown) Sentinel's May 13 edition showed Burnham Church of the Brethren listed Smeltzer as its pastor.
Repeated calls to the congregation's office went unanswered. However, Cheryl Brumbaugh-Coyford, spokeswoman for the denomination based in Elgin, Ill., confirmed Smeltzer “has been a pastor in the Church of the Brethren.”
Brethren churches hire and fire their own pastors, who are not appointed or assigned by the denomination, so “at this point it's a personnel matter for that congregation,” she said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Township takes title to British POW camp land
- Corbett seeks approval for Medicaid alternative
- Grants aren’t the same old payouts, Corbett says
- Pa. higher ed chief Brogan poised to reinvent system
- Lawmakers propose removing state judges from Pennsylvania ballots
- Older volunteers leave big shoes to fill
- ‘Moving Memorial’ on way to Somerset, drives home dangers of DUI
- Mother, daughter killed in buggy crash identified
- ‘12 Days of Christmas’ items top $114K
- Bill would require disclaimer on Liquor Control Board ads
- Former postmaster pleads guilty