Lutheran Church Removes Gay Pastor After He Announces He Has Partner

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said Thursday it is removing from the clergy a gay minister who announced he has a partner.

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling, who has led Atlanta's oldest Lutheran church since 2000, will be removed from the roster effective Aug. 15, according to a report from the ELCA's disciplinary committee.

Schmeling, who was open about his sexuality when he took the job, announced last year he had found a lifelong companion. Bishop Ronald Warren asked the 44-year-old pastor to resign, but Schmeling refused.

Warren then began disciplinary proceedings last year against Schmeling for violating church rules barring sex outside of marriage.

Schmeling had told both the bishop and the congregation at St. John's about his sexual orientation before he was chosen as pastor. He didn't have a partner at the time.