Tampa – A Tampa mother received a phone call a day before her son’s funeral saying the service was cancelled after the pastor found out the deceased was gay.
Julie Atwood, Julion Evans’ mother,was told she could not have the funeral services at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church because it be “blasphemous.”
Pastor T.W. Jenkins for New Hope said he did not know Evans,42, was gay until he saw his obituary which listed a surviving “husband.” After members of the congregation saw and called to complain, Jenkins said he did not think it was acceptable to hold the funeral services at New Hope.
Kendall Capers, Evans’ husband and partner of 17 years, said their relationship was not a secret. The two were even married a year ago in Maryland.
“This is 2014, this is not the 60s or the 70s,” Capers said to WFLA News Channel 8. “So at the end of the day I just want his wrong-doing to be exposed.”
The funeral services were scheduled July 26. Due to the last-minute cancellation, Atwood and Capers tried to change the funeral location and to notify everyone who would attend of the new venue. Still, some mourners showed up at New Hope still and missed the funeral.
Capers said he wanted the funeral services at a church and would have understood the church’s position if they didn’t cancel it the day before, calling it a “disrespectful” and “wrong” decision.