Kendall Capers found no hope at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church after the death of his husband, Julion Evans, who died at age 42 from amyloidosis. Evans' family are members of the New Hope congregation in Tampa, Florida, and Capers arranged to have the service there.
However, the funeral was abruptly canceled the night before it was scheduled to happen. The family was informed with a phone call from New Hope that said that it would be "blasphemous" to hold the service at the church, reported KCCI.
The cancellation came after members of New Hope noticed Evans' obituary, which named Capers as the "surviving husband," according to WFLA.
T.W. Jenkins, the pastor of New Hope, told WFLA over the phone that his church does not believe in gay marriage. "I try not to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God and have to stand upon my principles," he said.
Evans' family members were devastated by the news, with his mother too upset to speak to reporters on the phone. "Regardless of our background, our sexual orientation, how can you wait that long and put someone in a bind when they're going through a loss?" said Capers.
Evans' funeral took place instead at the funeral home which handled his wake.
New Hope has a welcome song that they sing during services that says:
Welcome. Welcome. Please won't you stand.
As we great you by clapping our hands (clap, clap).
Welcome. Welcome. We're so glad you came.
Welcome. Welcome. In Jesus' name.
It evidently does not apply to gay people.
"It's not like we woke up and said, 'let's be gay,' someone we were born with and we've dealt with it for me, 40 years, him 42 years, and we make the best possible choices," said Capers to WFLA.
The couple was recently married in Maryland, reports FOX 13. They had been together for seventeen years.