It seemed like the gay rights movement had almost fulfilled its mission and LGBT equality had arrived, but reality bites. From Arkansas to Indiana, the Religious Right has ramped up attacks not just on same-sex marriage equality, but even on anti-discrimination laws by pushing phony "religious freedom" laws to allow discrimination against LGBT people. The fight is not over, in fact, it may be heating up.
I went to this church as a child, and preached there as a teenager... The Church of Christ is still stuck in the dark ages. This is why gay people FLEE that area of North Arkansas, and its a shame because it is a beautiful area of the Ozarks.
Apparently there is a conflict in accounts of what happened. James Stone's husband Jay Hoskins posted this account on the Dallas Voice website:
"I am James' "legal" husband of nearly 6 months, and we had been together for over 10 years. Yes, this incident happened. And yes, it was out of the fundamentalist Clarkridge Church of Christ, amongst others. I just learned of the media coverage of this issue in the past couple of hours on the Voice. I have been contacted by local media in the last hour.
I can tell you that there were not only issues having a service for him, but also in so much as that one or more members of the Clarkridge Church of Christ called and "CANCELLED" our family get-together after the service, and that TWO members of the Clarkridge Church of Christ, Jerry and Vicki Oels gave James grieving mother, myself and the preacher a nice big envelope each
One filled with over 10 pages of Bible passages condemning us to hell, referencing God's marriage laws, marriage amongst people and animals, and then a sympathy card.
I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED SUCH HATE AND BIGOTRY in my life. James was taught not to be bigoted, hateful, and would not have approved of this.
James did not die of Sjogren's Syndrome. 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.
To the people of Clarkridge, including his own family, RUTH STRAIN, RAY WAYE, ROY (JUNIOR) STONE and JACKIE STONE- you all will be judged just as everyone else. The same goes for VICKI and JERRY OELHS."
Here we go again, another anti-gay bill proposed by Tennessee Republicans. State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) has offered up Bill SB2566, called the "Religious Freedom Act," which would permit "persons and religious or denominational organizations, based on sincere religious belief, to refuse to provide services or goods in furtherance of a civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage not recognized by the Tennessee Constitution." While it is claimed that the bill only protects church and religious organizations from lawsuits if they refuse to offer services to same-sex couples, its scope is open to interpretation, and appears to allow small businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, even if they are legally married in another state, and even if the federal government recognizes the marriages.
The Tennessee Equality Project raises concerns about whether the bill would allow religious affiliated medical organizations and hospitals to refuse to recognize legally married same-sex couples, or to refuse them medical services.