(Photo: Screen Grab via WTAJ)
A defiant Pennsylvania pastor who fought with his church over gay marriage has been fired by his congregation for officiating the wedding of a same-sex couple at the home of a local mayor last month.
The Rev. Ken Kline Smeltzer, the former pastor of a Church of the Brethren parish, told the centredaily.com that he was fired for marrying a same-sex couple at the home of State College, Pa., Mayor Elizabeth Goreham in August.
"It's true, but I can't give out any more information," Smeltzer confirmed in the report while saying "a few things have to play out" before he could speak more about what happened, including identifying the small church where he pastored.
Smeltzer married same-sex couple Joseph Davis and Gregory Scalzo at the request of Goreham on Aug. 19 after she was told she could be violating her oath if she did it herself. The men had gotten a marriage license in Montgomery County, where Register of Wills, D. Bruce Hanes, had started issuing them against state law in July.
Earlier this month a suit brought by the state Department of Health forced a court ruling which now prohibits Hanes from issuing any more marriage licenses to gay couples.
"We were friends," said Goreham of her decision to ask Smeltzer to perform the wedding. "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 he said yes."
On the day of the wedding of the gay couple, Smeltzer said in a statement that he conducted the ceremony because he is a supporter of marriage equality and feels the men "are very much in love and obviously committed to each other."
In an earlier WTAJ report Goreham said: "He doesn't regret performing the wedding and he is very supportive of marriage equality and 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."