Church Cancels Gay Woman's Funeral

Vanessa Collier
Vanessa Collier

A church in Lakewood, Colorado reportedly cancelled a memorial service after learning that the deceased was a lesbian.


The Denver Post has reported the funeral for Vanessa Collier, who tragically died at the age of 33 last month, the Pastor stopped the service after learning the deceased was married to a woman and had two children.

Pastor Ray Chavez halted the funeral 15 minutes in and told family and friends of the deceased that no pictures of Collier and her partner were permitted to be displayed beside the open casket at the funeral. Adding that there is to be no indication of the woman’s “alternative lifestyle.”

“It was humiliating,” said Victoria Quintana, Collier’s longtime best friend. “It was devastating.”

The gathering of mourning friends and family picked up programs, flowers and the even the woman’s casket and moved the service themselves to a mortuary nearby the church.

Following the controversy friends, families and activists gathered outside the New Hope Ministries with signs and demanding an apology from Pastor Ray Chevez. In the Facebook page created for the event,

In the Facebook page created for the event, organisers wrote:


Please join the Family and Friends of Vanessa Collier as we demand respect and dignity in her death. Vanessa was disrespected at what was to be a time to celebrate her life.

Pastor Ray Chavez and New Hope Ministries Cancelled the funeral of our friend 15 minutes after it was to have begin. He refused to allow her alternative life style video of her life be shown and kicked us out of the church. Her casket was open, flowers laid out and hundreds of people sitting in the pews. He collected money for the funeral and has yet to return it.

We ask all that stand with the GLBT community and those against bigotry to join us tomorrow as we hold a press conference to discuss the disgusting actions of this church. [SIC]


Pastor Chavez has been contacted by the media, but refuses to make any official comment.

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