Magazine article The Christian Century

Seminary President Ousted over Gay Daughter's Wedding

Magazine article The Christian Century

Seminary President Ousted over Gay Daughter's Wedding

Article excerpt

The New Brunswick Theological Seminary, one of the nation's oldest schools for training mainline Protestant clergy, has retired its president and reprimanded him for officiating at his gay daughter's wedding.

The board of trustees of the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based school implied in an earlier statement that the wedding wasn't a factor in its decision not to renew the contract of Norman Kansfield, 64.

But on February 10, a board spokesman and Kansfield confirmed that the ceremony, which was conducted in Massachusetts, precipitated the decision.

"We decided that the president had put the seminary in an awkward position by performing that ceremony without giving us the benefit of offering sufficient counsel," said Larry Williams Sr., a member speaking on the board's behalf. "It could have hurt the school if it divided people in our student body, if it divided our faculty, if it divided other people who support us."

In a letter sent shortly before the June 19 wedding of his daughter, Anne, Kansfield informed the board of his decision and said he wasn't seeking its permission. The board voted January 28 not to renew Kansfield's contract.

The ceremony took place shortly after Massachusetts began allowing same-sex marriages, touching off a national furor. …

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