Story Archive

They Don’t Deserve to Die

When Vanessa Collier, 33, died, her wife, Christina Higley, and family made funeral arrangements at New Hope Ministries in Lakewood, Colo., where Collier grew up. After an hour-long viewing, the funeral started. Fifteen minutes later, Pastor Ray Chavez, who was officiating, abruptly stopped the service and said it could not continue as long as the pictures of the couple were displayed, along with any other indications that Collier was gay. “It was humiliating,” said Collier’s longtime friend Victoria Quintana. “It was devastating.” The mourners went across the street to Newcomer Funeral Home to see what could be done. “Certain events were not going to be allowed to take place according to the church,” a funeral home representative said. “In talking with family we decided it would be best to have the services here.” So, people gathered up everything: pictures, flowers, and the casket, and moved the service to the funeral home. New Hope Ministries’ website says the church “is a place where those bound by drugs, alcohol, gangs and violence can find an ‘Ounce of Hope’.” At a protest at the church the next day, one sign read, “You will not find Jesus at New Hope but you will find hypocrisy.” (MS/Denver Post) ...For some bigots, there’s not an Ounce of Hope.
Original Publication Date: 18 January 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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