A Colorado pastor threatened to cancel a woman's funeral because friends and family displayed photos of the deceased with her wife. The service could not continue, he said, as long as there was any evidence that Vanessa Collier, who died at 33, lived what he called "an alternative lifestyle."
Pastor Ray Chavez of Lakewood, Colo., New Hope Ministries, hasn't apologized or offered Collier's family a refund after he abruptly quit in the middle of her service, forcing her loved ones to pick up her casket (along with the photos of Collier and her wife, Christina, who had two children together) and move the funeral to a much smaller mortuary across the street. Most of the mourners had to stand for the entire event.
Although friends say Chavez should have known Collier was gay well before the funeral began—the remembrance tape they had submitted to the church included photos showing her hugging and kissing her wife—he waited until 15 minutes into the service to voice his objections in front of the 100 or so people who had gathered to remember her.
They picketed in front of New Hope last week, the Post reported, demanding an apology and a reimbursement for the family.