Rev. Ken Kline Smeltzer
was fired by his
parish after he
performed a same-sex "marriage" of two men in late August.
The "wedding" was not performed at his
Rev. Smeltzer was the pastor of a Church of the Brethren parish in State College, Pennsylvania.
In an interview with the Centre Daily Times
, and published on September 23, 2013, (available here: http://www.centredaily.com/2013/09/23/3804042/centre-county-pastor-fired-after.html ), Rev. Smeltzer
declined to identify which parish fired him.
However, Pastor Smeltzer
did confirm that he
married Joseph Davis and Gregory Scalzo on August 19 at the home of State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, who is a proponent of same-sex "marriage.
The newlyweds received a "marriage" license in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes began issuing them in July.
Presently, the issuance of Pennsylvania marriage licenses to same sex couples is illegal, and a court in September prohibited Register Hanes from issuing any more "marriage" licenses to same-sex couples.
On the day of the Davis-Scalzo "wedding," Rev. Smeltzer
issued a statement in which he
said that he
supports marriage equality, and that the men "are very much in love and obviously committed to each other.
So, did Rev. Smeltzer
deserve to be fired?
Thus, it should not be surprising that Rev. Smeltzer
was fired by his
church for his
While many people believe that the United States Constitution calls for a separation of church and state (it actually does not), Rev. Smeltzer's
termination should remind us that we can expect far more interference by the state with churches as lawsuits for unfair dismissal are brought by clergy, who are supported by governmental entities.
is] acting on his
belief and the church is acting on theirs.