The day before Julion Evans' funeral was scheduled to happen at Tampa, Florida's New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Evans' mother reportedly got a phone call from a pastor. Because the deceased was gay, he said, the church would have to cancel the funeral.
"It was devastating," Julie Atwood, the mother, told NBC. "I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death."
According to the family, the church learned of Evans' orientation after an obituary in a local paper identified Kendall Capers, his husband and partner of 17 years, as such. Atwood said she was notified of the cancellation during his wake.
T.W. Jenkins, a pastor at the church, stood by the decision. From NBC:
Jenkins said his church preaches against gay marriage.
"Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church," Jenkins said. "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 for my principles."
Fortunately, Atwood was able to secure a last-minute venue for her son, who died of an illness called Amyloidosis. But some attendees who weren't aware of the change showed up at New Hope and missed the funeral.
"This is 2014, this is not the 60s or the 70s," Capers told NBC. "So at the end of the day I just want his wrong-doing to be exposed."
[h/t Reddit, Image via NBC]