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Tennessee Church Refuses to Hold Man’s Funeral Because His Son is Gay

A bigoted church in Tennessee is denying a dying man’s request to host his funeral because his son is gay.

Jessie Goodman’s father is gravely ill and expected not to recover. Jessie tried to arrange his father’s funeral at Lees Chapel Baptist Church [FB link} in Sweetwater, Tennessee as per his father’s request. His father’s second dying request was that Jessie sing “The Anchor Holds” at the funeral.

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 was told the funeral could be held at the church if Jessie would attend alone, and not be a part of the service at all. If his fiancé showed up, he would be asked to leave.

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.

Tennessee’s News 9 reached out to Lees Chapel Baptist Church , but Pastor Jay Scruggs refused to comment saying he would only speak to the press “after Jessie’s father is in the grave.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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