LAKEWOOD — Hundreds of Vanessa Collier's friends and family gathered Saturday at New Hope Ministries, sitting before an open casket that held the woman they loved, when suddenly the minister overseeing her funeral stopped the service.
The memorial could not continue, Pastor Ray Chavez said, as long as pictures of Collier with the love of her life, the spouse she shared two children with, were to be displayed.
Chavez said there could be no images of Collier with her wife, Christina. There could be no indication that Collier was gay.
Outraged, those who loved Collier, 33, picked up programs, flowers and eventually the dead woman's casket itself, moving the service to a mortuary that — thankfully, they say — happened to be across the street.