News & Politics

Arkansas Churches Allegedly Refuse Funeral For Gay Man, Hand Out Anti-Gay Materials to Grieving Family

“I have never experienced such hate and bigotry in my life,” said the husband of the late James Stone.

An Arkansas man’s husband and family are saddened and dismayed that they have been unable to find a church sanctuary that will allow them to hold his funeral. Even the local firehouse, which was built by his father, has closed its doors to the grieving family, refusing to host a reception or memorial for James Stone, who died at the age of 32 in January.

The Dallas Voice reported that Stone’s husband, Jay Hoskins, has been trying to find a place to memorialize his partner since Stone’s death on January 19.

The two men lived in Texas and have been together for 10 years. They were married in New Mexico six months ago on their 10th anniversary.

Stone — who struggled with Sjogren’s syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder — was born in Clarkridge, Arkansas. Hoskins hoped to hold a memorial for Stone in Mountain Home, the closest town, but the town’s churches turned him away.

In the comments thread at the Voice, Hoskins wrote that the Clarkridge Church of Christ initially agreed to allow the funeral, then canceled the gathering. Two parishioners handed Stone’s grieving mother envelopes stuffed with Bible verses condemning same-sex relationships.

“I have never experienced such hate and bigotry in my life,” said Hoskins.

The Dallas Voice claimed that Stone died of Sjogen’s syndrome, but according to Hoskins, Stone took his own life.

“He died a tragic death of suicide where his poor mother and myself found him hanging from a ceiling fan. I tried unsuccessfully to revive him, but it was too late,” he said.

In a separate comment, Hoskins said, “I lost the love of my life just over 2 weeks ago, and still don’t know how I am going to carry on, but will have to adapt.”

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