Showing posts with label Funeral. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Funeral. Show all posts

May 3, 2017

A Business FollowingTheir Conscience: Funeral Home Refuses to Bury Gay Man

If there were not a law or if there was an exception because of religion or any other excuse this would happen again with like in the times of early AIDS. Bob’s husband now has a court that will listen to him and hopefully bring justice for him.
Brewer Funeral Services Inc. dab Picayune Funeral Home, as well as Ted Brewer and Henrietta Brewer are being sued for undisclosed sum

"I felt as if all the air had been knocked out of me," Zawadski said in a statement released Tuesday. "Bob was my life, and we had always felt so welcome in this community. And then, at a moment of such personal pain and loss, to have someone do what they did to me, to us, to Bob, I just couldn't believe it. No one should be put through what we were put through."

A lawsuit alleges a South Mississippi funeral home refused to provide services for a deceased man after the owners found out the man was gay.

Lambda Legal, a LGBTQ rights organization, announced Tuesday it had joined the lawsuit against Brewer Funeral Services Inc. dba Picayune Funeral Home, as well as Ted Brewer and Henrietta Brewer. The suit alleges breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Lambda filed on behalf of John Zawadski and John Gaspari. The lawsuit claims Picayune Funeral Home declined to provide any services for Zawadski’s husband, Robert Huskey, who died three days after his 86th birthday. Gaspari is listed as Huskey and Zawadski’s nephew in the lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks an undisclosed amount of monetary damages.

“What happened to this family is shocking,” said Beth Littrell of Lambda legal in a press release. “Almost immediately after losing his husband and partner of more than 50 years, Jack Zawadski’s grief was compounded by injustice and callous treatment from the very place that should have helped ease his suffering. Following Bob’s death, the funeral home, the only one in the area with a crematorium, refused to honor agreed-upon funeral arrangements after learning that Bob and Jack were married.”

Littrell said Zawadski and Huskey had been together for more than 50 years and had moved to Picayune about 20 years ago. They married in Mississippi after same-sex marriage bans nationwide were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. In April 2016, after Huskey had fallen ill, his nephew made arrangements with the funeral home, according to Lambda Legal.

According to the lawsuit, the funeral home made repeated assurances they would take care of everything, but after Huskey’s death breached their agreements, communicating only that they did not “deal with their kind.”

The owners of the funeral home could not be reached for comment yesterday.

 Sun Herald
sand NBC

June 20, 2016

Matthew Shepard Angels Blocked Protesters at Funeral of Orlando 2 Shooting Victims

'Angels' blocked anti-gay protesters from Orlando shooting victim's burial

Funerals for two of the 49 Orlando massacre victims took place amid anti-gay protesters and an impatient driver who cut through a funeral procession, injuring two deputies.

The four anti-gay protesters were from the homophobic Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church. They raised signs with anti-gay slogans outside the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, where services took place for Christopher Leinonen, who was one of those killed in the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Police formed a line between the Westboro protesters and the hundreds of funeral attendees, who included members of the LGBTQ community, priests, bikers, and locals.

The crowd cheered when members of Orlando's Shakespeare Theater wearing huge "angel wings" showed up to block out the Westboro protesters.

The wings, which measured eight feet across and rose three feet above their shoulders, were made of white cloth and plastic piping. Reuters reported that the wings first surfaced at the 1998 funeral of Matthew Shepard, a gay student who was brutally murdered in Wyoming.

During the funeral procession for Jean Carlos Mendez in Kissimee, Florida, about 20 miles south of Orlando, a driver became impatient and cut through the procession, injuring two sheriff’s deputies on motorcycles. The mass shooting, which took place a week ago, killed 49 and injured scores more. On Saturday evening in Berlin, more than a thousand people attended a candle-lit vigil to show solidarity with the victims of the attack, their families, and the wider LGBT community. The Brandenburg Gate was lit up in rainbow colors.
 US Attorney General Loretta Lynch condemned last week’s mass shooting as “an act of terror and an act of hate," echoing the line used by President Barack Obama and others, and thereby acknowledging that when the gunman targeted a gay nightclub, he was targeting the LGBT community at large.
Reporting by VICE

February 20, 2016

Big Ang 55, will be interred in Staten Island, NY


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Angela "Big Ang" Raiola will be laid to rest in her home borough after being memorialized in the town she painted red as a young woman.
Ang died of cancer complications Thursday morning at 55 years old, leaving behind her two children, six grandchildren and large family. She touched the lives of countless friends, and fans who came to adore her for her role on VH1's "Mob Wives."
Wakes for Ang will be held Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. both days at the Scarpaci Funeral Home on 1401 86th St. in Dyker Heights. 
Ang will be buried on Staten Island next week. 
In the days following Ang's sudden death, those close to her have been in shock, devastated by the loss of Ang's big personality and caring heart. In an emotional interview with the Advance on Thursday, Ang’s sister shared some of her thoughts and memories.

January 29, 2015

Some Christians Deny Gays Their Funerals- Is this Christian as in Christ?


When Jesus declared that mourners shall be comforted, he surely did not mean to exclude the families of deceased LGBT people, right?
Pastor Ray Chavez of New Hope Ministries church in Lakewood, Colorado, seems to think otherwise. Just minutes before the funeral of Vanessa Collier, Chavez discovered that the commemorative video included photos of the deceased woman expressing affection with her female wife, with whom she was raising two children. The pastor informed the family that the pictures could not be shown or the memorial couldn't continue at his church. Humiliated, the Collier family picked up the dead woman's casket and hauled it across the street to a funeral home. 
It's impossible to say how many Christian churches have treated the families of LGBT people similarly, but we know Chavez's isn't the first. In 2014, a Tampa congregation canceled Julian Evans' funeral the day before the service. Pastor T.W. Jenkins made the decision after reading Evans' obituary and learning he was gay.
Such debacles beg an important question: Should Christian churches extend not only dignity and compassion to deceased people who didn't believe or live according to devout Christians' standards? 
There is no formal funeral liturgy in the Bible and no standards for who can participate in such rites. The scriptures contain no prohibition against hosting funerals for those who did not live according to certain standards. Christians can thank God for such an absence, because a "no sinners allowed" standard for funerals would be impossible to apply consistently.
The Bible condemns greed, but I can't fathom a church denying funeral space to a millionaire who didn't contribute his fair share to charity. Have you ever heard of a church declining to host a funeral for an obese person because the Bible denounces gluttony? Or more seriously: If a white father refused to let his daughter marry a black man whom she loved, can you imagine a church refusing him a funeral because he was a racist?
Such inconsistency incited dozens to protest New Hope's treatment of the Collier family. One sign said, "You will not find Jesus at New Hope but you will find hypocrisy." In Florida, Pastor Jenkins said allowing Evans' funeralwould be "blasphemous." Maybe he should have said it would be "hypocritical" not to. For if churches refuse to host funerals for those they believe were "sinful," then churches will not be hosting any funerals at all.
Some believers know this, which is why you'll find loads of online articles by conservative Christians with titles like, "Three Keys to Preaching the Funeral of an Unbeliever" and "How to Lead an Unbeliever's Funeral." Clearly, you can be a non-Christian and have a funeral. But according to some, you can't be non-straight. What's the difference? Such an inconsistency lends credibility to the assertion that some Christians are specifically targeting LGBT persons with condemnation. 
Author Anne Lamott once said, "You can safely assume you've created God in your image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." American Christians must reflect on whether they are becoming conduits of a God whose name is “Love” or crafting God into an image that reflects their own biases.

Lessons of the Reagan ranch: America must rediscover the simple, civil life

For this, we might reflect on the centrality of compassion to the Christian faith. The Apostle Peter said that Christians should be sympathetic, and the Apostle John wrote that those who lack compassion do not have God's love inside of them. "Mourn with those who mourn," the Apostle Paul urged. 
The virtue of compassion is even more prominent in the life of Jesus Christ. As 19th-century British preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, "If you would sum up the whole character of Christ in reference to ourselves, it might be gathered into this one sentence, 'He was moved with compassion.'" 
Jesus extended kindness without exclusions, conditions, or asterisks. No one was triaged before Jesus embraced them. Instead, Jesus seemed to dish out extra helpings of compassion to those that first-century conservative religionists marginalized "sinful" or "unclean"—lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, adulterers, Roman oppressors, and the demon-possessed.
So when it comes to hosting funerals of LGBT people, let us ask, "What would Jesus do?" Really, think about it. Can you honestly imagine the indiscriminately merciful Jesus telling a weeping family of a deceased LGBT person to scram? Of course you can't. So why would Christians tolerate such behavior within their ranks?
To be clear, pastors have the right to refuse services to whomever they wish. Our Constitution grants such protections to religious institutions and houses of worship. This should not change. But constitutional protections do not exempt churches from public criticism — and in this case, the criticism of hypocrisy is well deserved.
Even those Christians who disapprove of homosexual behavior can accept that the dead deserve to be treated with dignity, and that Christian compassion should be extended without condition. For the sake of the faith itself, Christians should rise up with a pointed finger and shout, "This person's bad behavior does not represent the rest of us." Otherwise, the Christian faith in the West may not survive the atrocities continually committed in Jesus’ name.

January 15, 2015

Even in death We are Persecuted! Minister Stops Funeral of Gay Woman in Denver

Vanessa Collier
Vanessa Collier (Photo via 7News)
LAKEWOOD — Hundreds of Vanessa Collier's friends and family gathered Saturday at New Hope Ministries, sitting before an open casket that held the woman they loved, when suddenly the minister overseeing her funeral stopped the service.
The memorial could not continue, Pastor Ray Chavez said, as long as pictures of Collier with the love of her life, the spouse she shared two children with, were to be displayed. 
Chavez said there could be no images of Collier with her wife, Christina. There could be no indication that Collier was gay.
(l-r) Cheyenne Poorbear, Samantha Getman and Victoria Quintana display photographs of Vanessa Collier and her partner, Christina Higley, during a rally
(l-r) Cheyenne Poorbear, Samantha Getman and Victoria Quintana display photographs of Vanessa Collier and her partner, Christina Higley, during a rally outside New Hope Ministries in Lakewood, CO January 13. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)
Outraged, those who loved Collier, 33, picked up programs, flowers and eventually the dead woman's casket itself, moving the service to a mortuary that — thankfully, they say — happened to be across the street.
"It was humiliating," said Victoria Quintana, Collier's longtime friend. "It was devastating."
Collier's friends, many of them lesbians, already were accustomed to dealing with the social and political challenges of their sexual orientation. Then they were faced with the death of a friend who, Thornton police say, may have committed suicide. Then last weekend, as they mourned, they were confronted with a church that wouldn't let them celebrate Collier's life because of what the minister called an "alternative lifestyle."
A representative for New Hope Ministries declined to comment before hanging up on a Denver Post reporter on Tuesday. A biography on the church website says Chavez founded the ministry in 1981 with his wife, Lola. It says the church "is a place where those bound by drugs, alcohol, gangs and violence can find an 'Ounce of Hope.' "
That hope was denied to Collier because she loved a woman, friends said.
"A church turning away a funeral. Who has ever heard of anything like that happening?" said Jeanette Arguello, a friend.
Lakewood church protest
Claire O'Brien joins protesters during a rally outside New Hope Ministries in Lakewood, January 13, 2015. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)
About four dozen supporters gathered outside of the church Tuesday afternoon in protest, chanting "Give us an apology!" and "Shame on Pastor Ray!" Security guards were stationed in front of the building to ensure none of the marchers made their way onto the property.
"You will not find Jesus at New Hope but you will find hypocrisy," said a sign carried at the demonstration. "Indignity in death," read another.
An hour-long viewing of Collier's body had just finished and the memorial service was 15 minutes underway when Chavez stopped it, those in attendance said. 
Friends say they gave the church a remembrance video of Collier a week before that contained images of her kissing and embracing her wife. The pastor had every chance to stop the funeral long before it began, they said.
Vanessa Collier, far left, with her wife and girls, 12 and 8.
Vanessa Collier, far left, with her wife and girls, 12 and 8. (Photo courtesy of Vanessa Collier's family. )
Collier, the mother of two girls, 7 and 11, lived in Thornton and died Dec. 30. New Hope Ministries was chosen for the memorial service because of its location — close to where Collier and her friends grew up, friends said.
David Campanella, area manager for Newcomer Funeral Home, where the service was moved, said they handled all of the funeral services for Collier's family when at the last minute the ceremony for Collier was moved from the church to the funeral home.
"Certain events were not going to be allowed to take place according to the church," Campanella said. "In talking with family we decided it would be best to have the services here."
Friends say the funeral home space was cramped and that Collier's family had little space to sit. The service moved from a spacious chapel and became standing-room-only in a matter of minutes.
Collier's friends say they still haven't been reimbursed by New Hope Ministry for the cost of the funeral.
"We want to pray that the Lord helps (Chavez)," Jose Silva told protesters Tuesday, pointing at the church. 
"We are in mourning."
Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, or
Staff writer Jordan Steffen contributed to this report.

December 10, 2013

Shake Hands Look into Each Other Eyes, but They Can’t Make Peace?

U.S. President Barack Obama greets Cuban President Raul Castro at a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama greets Cuban President Raul Castro at a memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.

Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela generated some informal diplomacy and political controversy, alongside the praise for the late South African president.

In a moment caught by television cameras, U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro as he walked to the podium.

The handshake was notable because the United States and Cuba have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, at the height of the Cold War, and the U.S. maintains a trade embargo on Cuba.  Relations have begun to thaw in recent years.

U.S. officials say the handshake was not pre-planned.  But they say the two leaders did not have a substantive discussion, they only exchanged greetings.  White House aides say the United States still has "grave concerns" about Cuba's human rights situation.

Obama also exchanged greetings with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, but U.S. officials say Obama did not see the memorial service as a "venue to do business."

The two leaders have been debating an agreement of a continued U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw in 2014.

The United States says Karzai must sign the pact by the end of this year or there will be no choice but to withdraw all American troops after 2014.

Obama is popular in South Africa, and thousands of people in the stadium cheered when his image appeared on the giant screen overlooking the field.

In contrast, South African President Jacob Zuma was booed each time his image was shown on the screen.  Many South Africans have been angered by recent accusations that Zuma spent $200 million in taxpayer money to renovate his private home.

In all, more than 70 heads of state and government attended the ceremony, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and India's President Pranab Mukherjee.

VOA News

September 8, 2013

A Splendid Way to Go For A Gay Rights Fighter

  • Pallbearers walk with the casket at Grace Cathedral during the funeral for Jose Julio Sarria, known as Empress Jose I, San Francisco's most famous drag queen and the nation's first openly gay candidate for political office. Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle 

    Pallbearers walk with the casket at Grace Cathedral during the funeral for Jose Julio Sarria, known as Empress Jose I, San Francisco's most famous drag queen and the nation's first openly gay candidate for political office. (Photo: Lea Suzuki, The Chronicle. Pulished at Chronicle)  
San Francisco put on a funeral fit for an empress at Grace Cathedral on Friday forJose Julio Sarria, a drag queen who became a pioneer in the gay rights movement.
The funeral combined all the pomp of theEpiscopal Church with the flamboyance of gay life. The Right Rev. Mark Handley Andrus, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, presided. Two empresses and two public officials were among those who gave eulogies.
Sarria's official title was Empress Jose I, the Widow Norton, and his ceremony looked like one of those state funerals held for royalty in Victorian times. Some mourners wore long dresses with trains; the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had a place of honor.
Sarria was hailed as a colorful pioneer in many guises, and also as a great man.
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, compared him to Rosa Parks, a heroine of the civil rights movement in the 196os. Sarria, he said, had a passion and a mission: "He stood for justice. He said, 'There is nothing wrong with being gay, the crime is being caught.' "
Sarria's funeral - attended by civic dignitaries and persons dressed in the black lace of widows, and held in the Nob Hill cathedral that represents the very pinnacle of the San Francisco establishment - was a milestone in the long road to recognition by the gay community.

Waiter at Black Cat

When he started in public life, Sarria was "the nightingale of Montgomery Street," a singing waiter at the old Black Cat, a bohemian bar that welcomed gay customers. He often dressed as an opera diva and sang arias. The police often raided the Black Cat and hauled off anyone suspected of being homosexual.
"From the Black Cat to the Grace Cathedral. Now I've seen everything," said Maurice Gerry, an old friend of Sarria's. He is a member of the City Council in Liberty, N.Y., and gave one of several eulogies.
Sarria, who was born in San Francisco in 1922, died at his home in Albuquerque on Aug. 19 at the age of 90.
He was not only a political pioneer - the first openly gay political candidate in the United States - but a veteran entertainer and civic organizer.

1st Imperial Court

He founded the first Imperial Court in San Francisco in 1965, and the movement spread all over the country, and to Canada and Mexico. Now there are more than 70 imperial courts, which raise millions of dollars for gay and other causes.
"It is a bit like the British Empire," Leno said, "The sun never sets on the Imperial Court."
Sarria "was a trailblazer for modern gay rights," said Nicole Murray-Ramirez, who was dressed in a long gown and paused to remember Sarria before the service.
"You can remember as well as I do what it was like in the '6os," Murray-Ramirez said. "I was tired of being a second-class citizen."
Like others, Murray-Ramirez said Sarria's message was that people should always be who they really are.
Sarria's picture on the cover of the program Friday showed a small man with rimless glasses. He looked like anybody's grandfather. But he was a man of many parts. A veteran of World War II, an entertainer, a man of deep emotion, a joker, and a man who helped others.
Some of the speakers told stories that had the mourners laughing, some told about his last days, and had the audience wiping tears from their eyes.
Leno recalled how Sarria had filed to run for the Board of Supervisors in 1961, when some political candidates had claimed San Francisco politicians were too lenient with homosexuals. Sarria finished 29th out of a field of 33 candidates, but it was a start.
"After that," Leno said, "no candidate in San Francisco would run without coming knocking on the gay community's door. "He changed the political landscape of San Francisco."
Leno paused for a long second. "Forever!" he said.

Police escort cortege

Sarria's long cortege led from Nob Hill, through the city, to Colma. The cortege was escorted by two dozen San Francisco police motorcycle officers, from the same force that used to round up gays.
Sarria was buried in a grave next to the last resting place of Joshua Abraham Norton, better known at Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.
In different ways, the two men are legends.

Featured Posts

Thai Cabinet Backs Allowing Same Sex Unions

                Patpicha Tanakasempipat BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s cabinet approved a civil partnership bill ...