A Colorado church, which was scheduled to host a memorial service for a deceased gay woman, received severe criticism and protests for refusing to show a video having a kissing scene featuring the woman and her fiancé.
The church officials told the deceased woman’s family that the kissing images of the couple could not be shown in the service and they must get the video edited.
Gary Rolando, a chaplain contact by the deceased’s family to officiate the memorial service, said that the family of Vanessa Collier refused to remove the photos from the memorial video. Rolando is not affiliated with New Hope Ministries.
Consequently, the funeral at New Hope Ministries in Lakewood unexpectedly canceled the memorial service and moved the funeral to a funeral home.
“The church policy is that people with alternate lifestyles can have services, but there can be no pictures or videos of overt kissing or hugging,” Rolando said while adding, “I understand both sides. The family wanted to honor Vanessa, and the church has to answer to its board and the members who pay their bills.”
Collier’s friend Jose Silva said that the church officials then asked around 200 friends, family members and near ones, who came to pay their last tribute to Collier, were asked to leave the church.
“They asked the family to edit the video, and that was like editing Vanessa’s life. It was demeaning,” Silva said.
Collier’s casket was then taken to a nearby funeral home where she was given the church and memorial service with the complete video, Silva said.
Dozens of Collier’s friends on Tuesday protested outside the church, he said.