Ken Kline Smeltzer, Pennsylvania Pastor, Fired By Congregation After Officiating Gay Wedding: Report

A Pennsylvania pastor has reportedly been fired by his own congregation after officiating a same-sex wedding against his church's wishes last month.

The Rev. Ken Kline Smeltzer, who was a pastor for a local Church of the Brethen parish, confirmed the news on Sept. 23 to Centre Daily, adding that "a few things have to play out" before he could speak about the situation in further detail.

“It’s true, but I can’t give out any more information,” he is quoted by the publication as saying.

Smeltzer married Pike County couple Joseph Davis and Gregory Scalzo on Aug. 19 at the home of State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, Centre Daily previously reported. The couple had received a license to wed from D. Bruce Hanes, Register of Wills of Montgomery County.

In an Aug. 29 WTAJ report, Goreham said Smeltzer "doesn't regret performing the wedding and he is very supportive of marriage equality," before adding, "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."

In July, Hanes began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in spite of the fact that Pennsylvania does not have marriage equality legislation in place, the Associated Press pointed out.

"The American people probably have other things on their minds," Hanes is quoted by the AP as saying at the time. "A lot of people are worried about jobs, they're worried about poverty, they're worried about medical care."

The state's Health Department and Gov. Tom Corbett feel differently, however; lawyers for both claimed Hanes' decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses risked "causing serious and limitless harm" in Pennsylvania and beyond, the AP reported.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article suggested that Smeltzer's congregation was located in State College, Pa. Although he officiated at the wedding in State College, the church that employed him has not been identified. The local State College University Baptist and Brethren Church notes on its website that it welcomes "persons of every age, race, sexual orientation, ethnic and religious background."



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