Funeral canceled after learning deceased was gay

TAMPA, FL (KTRK) -- A church in Florida canceled a funeral after the pastor and congregation learned the deceased man was gay.

Kendall Capers says he was told the service was canceled the night before he husband was to be buried. He says the pair were partners for 17 years and married last year in Maryland. Evans died at home after a 4-year battle with a rare illness called Amyloidosis, which destroys organs in the body.

"Everyone who knew us knew about our relationship," he said. "We didn't keep secrets."

But the pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa didn't know the pair were gay until the newspaper obituary named Capers as the surviving "husband."

The pastor, T.W. 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."

Pastor Jenkins said he regrets the decision was made the night before the funeral.

As for the family, they ended up holding the funeral at the funeral home that handled the wake. The family said it ended up being a great service, but they still feel it was wrong that the church excluded them.

"It's not like we woke up and said let's be gay, "Capers said. "We were born with (it) and we've dealt with it for me, 40 years, him 42 years and we make the best possible choices."


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