Church stops lesbian’s funeral
By Ryan Parker LOS ANGELES TIMES
A church stopped the funeral for a Colorado lesbian minutes after it had begun on Saturday because there were pictures of her sharing intimate moments with her wife.
Now, the incident has made national headlines, and friends, family and the LGBT community are protesting.
New Hope Ministries in the Denver suburb of Lakewood stopped the service for 33-year-old Vanessa Collier because there were pictures that clearly showed she was a lesbian, which the church asked to be edited out, said Christina Higley, Collier’s wife.
“Her services were refused because we would not let New Hope Ministries ‘edit’ her life, which was a slide show of our family photos including our engagement and family photos of her and I with our two children!” Higley wrote in a Face-book post. Collier died on Dec. 29. The cause of death is unclear.
Jose Silva, a family friend, said that those in attendance, about 150, were forced to immediately move everything, including Collier’s casket, and finish the service at a funeral home across the street. While the family was thankful the venue was available, it was not big enough to accommodate everyone, so some attendees could not be in the room as the service was conducted, Silva said. New Hope Ministries declined to comment, and the number given for an outside spokesman on the matter was not in service. David Campanella, area director for Newcomer Funeral Home, confirmed that the church wanted certain pictures edited out and the family refused, so the service was abruptly moved. The funeral home has no connection to the church, Campanella said. He declined to comment further about the incident.
A large group of supporters of the family protested outside New Hope Ministries on Tuesday. According to the Facebook post for the protest, created in part by Silva, New Hope Ministries has yet to refund the family’s money for the service.
It’s true we cannot legislate bigotry, hatred and/or tacky behavior . . . but our laws do proclaim we are all equal under the law. So I am quite sure that what goes around will come around even in Denver, Colorado at the New Hope Ministries.
I have never seen such extremely bad behavior conducted by any church, especially for such a grievous, sensitive occasion. It is almost beyond belief that a church – any church could interfere with a communal ceremony in the presence of loved ones, friends and the clergy to interfere with the send-off of a newly departed on their eternal journey after being organized and paid for.
Not for me to judge, just a fellow traveler along the path. . .there’s more sophisticated minds capable of such things. Jan