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| Lesbian South Africa |
| Lifestyle | News |

Funeral stopped mid-way because dead woman is lesbian

22 January 2015
An American pastor has shocked family and friends after he stopped a funeral unless images of the dead woman with her wife were removed from the service.

The incident took place as hundreds gathered for the open-casket memorial of 33-year-old Vanessa Collier in Lakewood, Colorado on Saturday.

However, when New Hope Ministries Pastor Ray Chavez realised that photos of Collier proposing to and kissing her wife Christina in a video were included in the service he put an immediate halt to the proceedings.

In fact, despite it already being 15-minutes under-way, he insisted that no indication that the late woman was gay would be allowed in the event.

Appalled, Collier’s grieving friends and family moved the casket and the memorial to a cramped mortuary across the road from the church.

“A church turning away a funeral. Who has ever heard of anything like that happening?” Jeanette Arguello, a friend,” told the Denver Post.

On Tuesday a large group of Collier’s supporters and loved ones protested outside the church against its callous action, shouting “Give us an apology!” and “Shame on Pastor Ray!”

One of the signs they held up read: “You will not find Jesus at New Hope but you will find hypocrisy.”

Jose Silva, a friend of Collier’s, told ABC News: “Sitting there, watching your friend being packed up and shuttled out of a church was just horrific. I organised the march because I wasn’t going to let this be the memory of her death. Love is love.”

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