Funeral Turned Away Because Dying Man’s Son Is Gay

L-R Brandon Smitty, Jessie Goodman (screen capture via News 9)

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.

Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church in Sweetwater, TN (screen capture)

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.

(source: News 9)

6 thoughts on “Funeral Turned Away Because Dying Man’s Son Is Gay”

  1. so go to another church every one doesn’t have to believe in the same things you do same with a wedding cake if one baker doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding then go somewhere else am sure you probably have your own prejudices its not a big deal like i am sure you are prejudice against the minister who refuses to do the funeral if he really refuses to do it maybe there is something you aren’t telling us if you are trying to make a speckitcal out it i don’t blame him for refusing one last thing i too am gay

  2. Reading this makes me sick. How can anyone call themselves Christian’s and not allow a dying man his final wish. God is love, and he loves all of us, gay straight, by, trans, poly. Makes no difference in his eyes. That so called Christian preacher will have to answer to God.

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  4. “…They’re punishing my dad for a lifestyle choice I’ve made,…”

    OK, first it’s not a choice–it’s what you are. And since you have nothing to lose, I say you tell that pastor that God made you this way–in his own image–and watch the head veins pop.

  5. Baptists are not Christian at all so their funerals are worthless. I’d rather not have a funeral than a Baptist one.


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