The Pastor of a Church in State College Pennsylvania has been fired after his congregation learned that he had performed a marriage ceremony for two men. Reverend Ken Kline Smeltzer, 62, of Boalsburg, performed the ceremony on August 19 after being invited to officiate by State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, in whose home the wedding took place. Goreham had previously said that she would marry anyone who came to her with a license issued by the Montgomery Register of Wills, D. Bruce Hanes but was forced to find another way to keep her promise when borough officials told her that doing so would be a violation of her oath of office.
Hanes himself has been told that he does not have the authority to issue the licenses and is the respondent in a lawsuit brought by The Pennsylvania Department of Health. He has issued 174 marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of the Pennsylvania DOMA. The department has issued a writ of mandamus accusing him of causing, “untold harm to the public,” and ordering him to, “immediately cease and desist from issuing marriage licenses to individuals of the same gender.”
The state DOMA is facing legal challenges itself as a suit has been filed challenging it’s Constitutionality. The state’s Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has declined to defend the law saying, “I cannot ethically defend the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s version of DOMA where I believe it to be wholly unconstitutional.”
Kline was asked by Goreham to officiate at the wedding because she knew that he enjoyed presiding over weddings, and after giving some thought to the matter he said yes. When the members of his congregation learned that he had done it they immediately fired him.
He was Pastor of the Burnham Church of the Brethren, a denomination that does not appoint or assign Pastors but rather allows each congregation to hire their own Pastor. No one at the church has spoken to the press so there is no comment as yet from their side, not that there is a defense for this blatant act of bigotry.
The denomination issued a statement in 1983 saying, “The Church of the Brethren upholds the biblical declaration that heterosexuality is the intention of God for creation.” That statement has been maintained up to the present. They advise homosexuals to remain celibate or to convert to heterosexuality, both unreasonable and unjustifiable demands, one is intended to deny them the same privilege of marrying the person that they love, as enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts while the other is an impossibility and denies the science that has shown these people are born with this sexual orientation and do not choose it nor can they change their orientation.
This is just one more instance of faux “Christians” behaving in a very un-Christian manner, being intolerant and judgmental. They might want to ask themselves WWJD.