Atwood said she was told it would be "blasphemous" to hold the services at the church because her son, Julion Evans, was gay.
"It was devastating," she said. "I did feel like he was being denied the dignity of death."
Evans' husband, Kendall Capers, says the pair were partners for 17 years and married last year in Maryland. Evans died at home after a four year battle with a rare illness called Amyloidosis, which destroys organs in the body.
He says the obituary named him as "husband," and that their marriage was no secret.
"Everyone who knew us knew about our relationship," he said. "We didn't keep secrets."
The family asked for Evans' funeral to be held at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa.
Atwood, Evans' mother, says she was baptized at the church as a child and several of her family members still attend. Atwood's current pastor agreed to preach the funeral, but they needed a large church, like New Hope, to accommodate hundreds of mourners from across the country. New Hope agreed and the service was scheduled for July 26.
But when the obituary published in the local newspaper, everything changed.
T.W. Jenkins, pastor at New Hope says was not aware of that Evans had a husband or was gay until members of his congregation saw the obit and called to complain. They did not think it was right to have the funeral at their church.
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."
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