For years now, the LGBTQ community has endured reports of being denied services – like trying to buy a wedding cake or wedding invitations, or enrolling children of same-sex parents at private schools – all because of ‘deeply held religious beliefs.’
But a church in Tennessee is now denying a dying man’s request to host his funeral because his son is gay.
Jessie Goodman’s father is 71-years-old, very ill and dying.
His father has two requests after he is gone: that Jessie sing “The Anchor Holds” at the funeral, and that the services be held at Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church in Sweetwater, Tennessee. It’s the church the father first attended.
But when Jessie, who is engaged to Brandon Smitty, approached the church about the service, Pastor Jay Scruggs and several members of the church told him neither he nor his fiancé could be involved in the funeral because they are gay.
Goodman told local ABC affiliate News 9, “As long as I was going to take part in any way, he (Goodman’s father) could not have his service there.”
Goodman was reportedly told the funeral could be held at the church if Jessie would attend alone, and not be a part of the service at all.
And if his fiancé showed up, he would be asked to leave.
News 9 reached out to Scruggs, but the pastor refused to comment saying he would speak to the press “after Jessie’s father is in the grave.”
“They’re punishing my dad for a lifestyle choice I’ve made,” said Goodman. “It’s not me up there in a casket. It’s him.”
The father, whose name is being withheld at the family’s request, has been told that his services will not be held at his own church.
“He did know that his funeral wouldn’t happen there,” said Goodman. “And he had a very hurt look on his face when we told him that.”
The family has since found another funeral venue in the area for the services.
And Goodman will sing “The Anchor Holds” at his father’s funeral.