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US: Church cancels man’s funeral over same-sex marriage

Nick Duffy August 8, 2014

A church has cancelled a man’s funeral after discovering that he was gay and married.

Julion Evans-Capers of Tampa passed away last month, after a four-year battle with a rare illness that attacked his internal organs.

However, his family were denied a final chance to say goodbye, after New Hope Missionary Baptist Church told them his funeral had been cancelled the night before it was due to take place.

During the wake, the church told his mother, Julie Atwood, that it would be “blasphemy” for them to hold a memorial service for her son, because he was married to his partner of 17 years, Kendall Capers.

Ms Atwood told WFLA: “It was devastating. I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death.”

Pastor TW Jenkins defended the decision to cancel the funeral, claiming they had not known about his marriage until the last minute.

He said: “Based on our preaching of the scripture, [it] would have been in error to allow the service in our church.

“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 on my principles.”

However, Mr Capers said: “Everyone who knew us knew about our relationship. We didn’t keep secrets.”

“This is 2014, this is not the 60s or the 70s. So at the end of the day I just want his wrong-doing to be exposed.”

More: Church, dead, Florida, funeral, Gay, married, pastor, Religion, Tampa, US

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