Openly gay United Methodist pastor Mark Thompson from Lansing, Michigan, plans to officiate same-sex weddings despite the penalties that clergy will face for doing so, according to WKAR.

Thompson, 61, is a minister at Central United Methodist Church in Lansing and he says he’s been out as gay for 10 years. Church rules prohibit him from being in a same-sex relationship.

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The United Methodist Church recently approved harsher penalties for clergy who officiate same-sex marriages or have same-sex relationships, but Thompson says he’s going to perform ceremonies regardless of the rule.

“I need to do that because I need to be able to treat people with equity. I do that in every other part of my life,” he tells WKAR. He plans to retire next year and pursue a romantic relationship then.

The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church will vote on the constitutionality of the new plan in April.

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