Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) One local pastor is standing up against his church's religious doctrine, and standing by his congregation and family. Pastor Stephen Heiss could lose his ordination.
According to the Book of Discipline in the United Methodist church, homosexuality is incompatible with christian teaching and no pastor is allowed to officiate a same sex marriage.
Tabernacle United Methodist Church pastor Stephen Heiss is speaking out against the book for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.
Heiss has performed about eight weddings in the past 10 years for same sex couples, the first, his daughters.
"When she wanted to get married, when she was about 20-22 years old, I was thrilled to be able to do it," Heiss said. "How could you say no to your daughter?"
Heiss says he's always been accepting of everyone, but when his daughter came out, it put his views on homosexuality in focus.
"Having a daughter makes a difference, because you get a front row seat to see what it's like for a child to grow up," Heiss said.
Depending on how the Bishop decides to respond to the letter, Heiss could be charged by the church with violating the words of the Book of Discipline and sent to trial.
If found guilty, he could lose his ordination, something he is prepared to take on.
"There's some sense that being gay is not only morally wrong, but hurtful to other people that are around this gay person. And it's just not true," Heiss said.
The Tabernacle United Methodist Church has a policy, voted on by the congregation, to not discriminate against any member of the church.
"Gay people harm do no harm, do no harm, do no harm," Heiss said.
To read the letter Pastor Heiss wrote to Bishop Mark Webb, click here.