Church Cancels Man's Funeral Because He Was Gay

Julion Evans and Kendall Capers

The mother and husband of a Tampa, Florida man say a church canceled his funeral service was he gay.

The Advocate reports that Julie Atwood "received a phone call from Pastor T.W. Jenkins of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, in which he said having her son Julion Evans's service there would be blasphemous because Evans was gay. Members of the church had seen that Evans's husband, Kendall Capers, was listed as his surviving spouse in his obituary. Capers and Evans, who wed in Maryland last year, were together for 17 years before Evans died of a rare illness called amyloidosis, which destroys bodily organs."

Atwood told Tampa TV station WFLA the church's decision--which came after members complained about having Evan's funeral there, giving the family 24 hours to move the funeral and causing some mourners to miss the service--was "devastating."

"I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death," she said.

Jenkins said his church would have been "in error to allow the service in our church," adding, "I'm not trying to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles."

Fact is, the church has the right to hold or not whatever funeral they choose. But it doesn't change the fact it was a horrible, shitty thing to do.

Caper has announced plans to start a foundation to research amyloidosis.