Pastor Stands By Decision to Cancel Gay Man’s Funeral

Outward
Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
Aug. 11 2014 4:17 PM

Pastor Stands By Decision to Cancel Gay Man’s Funeral

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Last week, Pastor T.W. Jenkins of Tampa, Florida, canceled Julion Evans’ funeral at the last minute after he discovered that Evans was gay and married. Jenkins claimed that holding a church funeral for a gay man would be “blasphemous” and insisted, “I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles.”

The incident sparked a nationwide outcry—but it seems Jenkins is sticking to his decision. A local news station sat in on part of Jenkins’ Sunday sermon yesterday and found the pastor in a defiant mood. “Our trials make us strong,” he told his congregation. Then, referring to his “trials” of the previous days, Jenkins told the audience that “my family is doing fine. … Please remain focused and prayerful … and we will continue to stand on the word of God.” The audience applauded.

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Meanwhile, Evans’ widower—who took care of Evans for four years while he suffered from a rare, painful disease—is still struggling to recover. “I know he’s not here,” he told an interviewer through tears, “but I haven’t had a chance to grieve because of this. He was my best friend, and he’s not here anymore.

You can watch the entire depressing report below.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.