Could you imagine losing your son, with all the trauma that entails, and then being told at his wake — as you’re standing next to his body, no less — that his funeral is being cancelled because he was gay?
That’s exactly what happened to one grieving mother in Tampa, Florida, WFLA reports:
Julie Atwood was standing at her son’s casket when the phone rang. The church where her son’s funeral was scheduled to be held the next day decided to abruptly cancel the service, after the pastor learned the deceased was gay and his obituary listed a surviving “husband.”
Atwood said she was told it would be “blasphemous” to hold the services at the church because her son, Julion Evans, 42, was gay. “It was devastating,” she said. “I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death.”
Evans’ husband, Kendall Capers, says the pair were partners for 17 years and married last year in Maryland. Evans died at home after a 4-year battle with a rare illness called Amyloidosis, which destroys organs in the body.
After Evans’ tragic death, his mother asked her pastor to preach the funeral service. He said he would, but that his church space was not spacious enough to accommodate the hundreds of loved ones from across the country who were expected to attend. So they asked New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, which has larger facilities, for permission to hold Evans’ funeral there.
The church agreed and the date was set… but the publication of Evans’ obituary in the local paper changed everything. More, after the break.