Avoid the insta-nest

Posted on 16 Jan 2015 at 7:45am

Don’t lose yourself in a new relationship and jump in to commitment too quickly

Block.JennyThe funniest jokes are the ones that are true, which is what makes the most famous lesbian joke of all so funny. Too funny for our own good, if you ask me.

“What does a lesbian bring on a second date?”

All together now: “A U-Haul.”

It’s scary but true. We are known for our insta-nesting. There’s no way around that. And why we do it is painfully simple. It’s in our nature to nurture.

So, we meet a girl we dig and the first thing we want to do is snuggle in and take care of her. It’s pair-bonding at it’s best — and it’s worst.

The thing is, although it might primarily come from a good place, it also comes from a place of fear, which is never a good place from which to operate.

When you think about marking territory, men and dogs might be the first groups that come to mind. But the truth is, lesbians don’t fall too far behind when it comes to the, “MineMineMine” behavior and mentality.

Why? Well, I’ve got a couple of ideas.

One, it’s not easy to meet the right girl. So, when you do, you want to hang on to her. I get that.

Two, we like to lock things down; it’s easier on our over-thinking, over-processing brains. If we can get a confirmation on this coupling thing down quickly, we can move on to other things like volunteering at that food bank and starting that kale garden.

Three, and don’t get all bent out of shape about this, but we are girls. And even the toughest amongst us fear a broken heart. So, having a girl park her VW in your garage and her golden retriever and jet-black feline in your house is, let’s face it, a welcome safety.

But, my friends, we have to break the cycle. This U-Hauling business may work for some, but it is not a good idea in the long run for most of us.

I repeat — not a good idea.

I know, I know. You have this friend … . Or one time you … . We all have those stories.

But I’m not talking about the exceptions. I am speaking of the rule. Make no mistake, insta-nesting is a dangerous game.

Why?

For starters, you miss out of a lot of the fun stuff. Sure, safe and easy might feel nice. But new and exciting feels amazing. If you’re meant to be, you’ll be. Trust me.

The rush has more of a chance of ruining you than solidifying you. So enjoy the slow burn instead. Go out on dates. Stay at your own place by yourself once in awhile. Don’t lose track of your friends. Leave the wedding planning for later.

When you take the time to really learn someone, you can enjoy the experience of being new and special to someone. And there’s no feeling in the world that compares to that.

Waiting for that person to call or text. Looking forward to a big date at the end of the week. Planning outings for the next time you’ll see each other — Those are the joys of dating. Why rush through them?

You have a lifetime to figure out who’s going to make dinner and who’s going to take the dog out.

I have a confession to make. I was a U-Hauler — if not literally, then certainly figuratively.

I would meet a girl; feel a connection, and get right to the relationship part, promises and all. And — you guessed it — it never worked out. I have asked myself a thousand times why exactly I do this. I have no good answer other than, sigh, genetics, old habits, and, I don’t know, my star sign?

But this time around, I’m dating a new kind of girl. A non-U-Hauler, if you will. She’s younger than I; maybe the next generation is learning from our mistakes?

She is committed to her job and her friends and her life. And she wants someone to share her life. But she doesn’t need someone.

That is something I have long preached. But I am doing a far better job of practicing this time around.

With this girl, there was no sex on the first date — or the second or the third or the fourth for that matter — even though it was very clear that we were both very interested in one another. And there was no casual throwing around of the word “girlfriend.”

She asked when she was ready and because I was ready, I said yes. Same went for saying, “I love you.”

I’m not saying we waited a crazy long time for any of those things. We didn’t. But we did wait. It felt so incredibly different. It felt conscious and thoughtful and intentional.

It felt good.

And, interestingly enough, it feels more secure and concrete then the rushed versions of my past. I know she loves me. I know she wants me to be her girl. And those things are equally clear for me, too.

Will we be together forever? Too soon to tell. But I do know that the foundation we’ve set is a firm one and that each step we take forward will be a smart one.

Jenny Block is a writer and the author of the Lambda Award-winning book Open: Love, Sex, and Life in as Open Marriage. Her writing appears in and on HuffingtonPost.com, Curve Magazine, Dallas Voice, Edge Media Network and many others. Her new book, O Wow! Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm, is due out summer 2015 (Cleis Press). JennyOnThePage.com.

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Impressions from the courtroom

Posted on 16 Jan 2015 at 7:30am

Patti Fink recounts memorable moments from the 5th Circuit court hearing on marriage equality

Real harm. Democratic process. Immutability. Legitimate state interest. Animus. Equality. Respect. Dignity. Personal liberty. Personal dignity. Equal dignity.

These words filled the West Courtroom of the John Minor Wisdom Federal Courthouse in New Orleans on Friday, Jan. 9, as attorneys for both sides in marriage equality cases from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas stepped to the lectern to present their oral arguments to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The attorneys for each state added their own Southern mix of tired old arguments, urging the judges to uphold each state’s ban. You know them; we’ve heard them over and again, and not just in these marriage cases but all of our lives:
“You can’t procreate” was the big one. “The state has the right to limit marriage to one man/one woman.” “It’s not discrimination; it’s furthering the state’s interests.” “It’s not about hate or moral disapproval of gay people, it’s about preserving ‘traditional marriage.’”

The attorneys representing each state’s plaintiffs were compelling and logical, and in urging the judges to rule each state’s ban unconstitutional, these attorneys built their arguments on our humanity and our equality in simply being. While the states’ attorneys spoke about us as almost non-humans, as objects or abstract theoretical concepts, “our” attorneys infused our humanity into their arguments as their starting place, speaking about our love, our lives, our children, our realness as human beings, our equal dignity.

And “we” packed the courtroom during each of the three cases. All of the plaintiffs for each state were present, and while I sat in the press section inside the very small courtroom, the remaining pews and several rows of chairs added by court staff filled and re-filled for each case. Staff also made available two overflow rooms with live audio.
Fink-Patti
My partner, Erin Moore, was outside while I was inside, and she recounted that the harried court staff told her they’d never seen anything like it. They’d never dealt with that many spectators and media before.

Inside I didn’t see a single right-wing reporter or spectator.

Louisiana went first, and after the case was submitted the court staff cleared the courtroom of spectators in order to allow Mississippi folks in for their case. Suddenly there was a sea of lesbians in jeans and colorful golf shirts, and numerous small children peppering the pews, sitting with their gay parents.

“Our” attorney noted to the court from the lectern, “Mississippi actually has the highest percentage of gay families with children in the nation — 29 percent. … But the state has offered not a single reason why those children should be treated worse than the children of straight parents. … There is no possible explanation that passes any test of logic, common sense or even simple human decency for why the state should not want those children to have the same benefits and opportunities that other children do.”

Earlier in that case, the state’s attorney told the court that Mississippi’s “legitimate government interest” was to “promote stable family relationships of those who procreate naturally” — and then one of the babies in the gallery cried out loudly, prompting Judge James Graves to exclaim, “On cue!!”

Amid the laughter, the state’s attorney pointed to the gallery and blurted out, “That child needs a stable family relationship!” Yes, yes that child does, sir — and her parents should be able to marry!

The contrast between the sides could not have been more stark. I urge Dallas Voice readers to listen to each of the oral argument recordings — links below — for a full appreciation of how very well we were represented and how utterly ridiculous the states’ arguments were.

Interestingly, two of the three attorneys arguing for marriage equality were women.

In Louisiana’s case which differs from the other two in that the plaintiffs lost and thus appealed the lower court ruling, Lambda Legal’s Camilla Taylor very ably asserted a clear case for equality and was remarkably deft in fielding questions from the judges.

In Mississippi’s case, which is similar to the Texas case, Roberta Kaplan was a commanding presence at the lectern, vigorously and forthrightly representing her clients and bantering with the judges with articulate, cogent logic and even humor. (Indeed, it was my impression that Judge Jerry Smith — the panel’s conservative — was a tad star-struck to be engaging the attorney who won the landmark civil rights case United States v Windsor, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.)

Akin Gump attorney Neel Lane represented the Texas plaintiffs, speaking eloquently for marriage equality and exposing the utter irrationality of our state’s arguments in nimble, crisp, plain language.

The three federal judges, for their part, peppered the attorneys with questions challenging their assertions and, if those questions are any indication of how they will rule, then “we” will win, hands down.

Their questions and comments mocked the states’ arguments and underscored the overt desperation in each, often with great humor. The poignant zinger of the day from the bench was from Judge Patrick Higginbotham: In response to the Mississippi attorney’s assertion that “We’re talking about a social policy issue, not a constitutional right issue yet,” adding that if Mississippi changes its mind then voters can repeal the ban, Higginbotham observed, “Those words — ‘Will Mississippi change its mind?’ — have resonated in these halls before.”

Ouch. The attorney was dumbstruck and, while the room gasped, he bumbled, “Your Honor, if I may conclude, the state asks that the court reverse the district court’s preliminary injunction,” and sat down.

It is difficult to select from the amazing, plainspoken quotes from “our” attorneys or from the straw-grasping absurdities from the state attorneys because they are far too numerous. But here are a few of the best:

• In arguing that in Texas “marriage is a subsidy” to incentivize procreation and in explaining “the fear requiring the state to ‘wait and see’” on same-sex marriage, the state’s solicitor general said: “Those who oppose same-sex marriage are animated by a concern that it will reinforce the notion that marriage exists not only primarily, but perhaps almost exclusively, as an institution to celebrate the love and commitment of two people. And in doing that, it could undermine the idea that marriage exists to encourage procreation and to encourage the creation of new offspring.”

Neel Lane, attorney for the Texas plaintiffs reeled: “What you just heard, that definition of marriage from this lectern, is an incredibly narrow, blinkered view of marriage that would be unrecognizable to anyone who has experienced it, witnessed it, or aspires to it … And that radical redefinition of marriage is not present in the legislative record anywhere.”

• Roberta Kaplan, who told the judges, “There are many ways to decide this case, all of which we win,” had quite a few keepers. Among them:

“As Justice Kennedy said, ‘Times can blind.’ Times have blinded this country about African-Americans. Times have blinded this country about women. And times have blinded this country about gay people.”

“There is no rational reason to believe that the exclusion of gay couples from marriage somehow incentivizes straight couples to do anything at all. … It is fantasy to assume that any young woman who accidentally gets pregnant will decide to marry the father of her child because my clients cannot.”

“The Supreme Court made it clear in Windsor that gay people have dignity under the law that is equal to the dignity of everyone else. Once you accept the fact that gay people have equal dignity, then any purported justification for the government to treat them differently in marriage is unconstitutional, no matter what level of scrutiny applies. … Once you accept that gay people are equal to everyone else, then all these ‘reasons’ really make no sense.”

Indeed. Equal dignity. Our rights begin and end with equal dignity. Period.

Patti Fink is a longtime LGBT activist at the local, state and national level. She represented Dallas Voice as a special correspondent at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on Jan. 9.

________________

Listen to recordings of oral arguments at these links:
Louisiana
ca5.uscourts.gov/OralArgRecordings/14/14-31037_1-9-2015.mp3

Mississippi
ca5.uscourts.gov/OralArgRecordings/14/14-60837_1-9-2015.mp3

Texas
ca5.uscourts.gov/OralArgRecordings/14/14-50196_1-9-2015.mp3

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 16, 2015.

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Plano group releases flier supporting equal rights ordinance

Posted on 15 Jan 2015 at 5:34pm

A new group called People in Support of the Equal Rights Policy of Plano TX created a flier to debunk myths about the city’s new equal rights ordinance.

Plano Flyer

The opposition group needs to collect fewer than 3,900 signatures, or 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election, to force a recall vote on the ordinance.

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Prestonwood church, which has a history of sex abuse, is opposing Plano ordinance

Posted on 15 Jan 2015 at 5:07pm
prestonwood

Prestonwood Baptist Church, competing with First Baptist Church of Dallas for the title of area’s most homophobic

Prestonwood Baptist Church has become the center of activity when it comes to collecting signatures to repeal the new Plano nondiscrimination ordinance and capture the title of most homophobic church in the Metroplex from First Baptist Church of Dallas.

That defender of religious freedom may also be remembered as the church where a pastor had to resign in 2008 because he was caught soliciting sex from a minor.

Sr. Pastor Jack Graham, who is spearheading the signature collection effort for the Plano recall, accepted the resignation of Pastor Joe Barron after a 2008 sex sting.

“Barron was charged … with online solicitation of a minor,” according to an AP story from the time. “Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with the 52-year-old minister for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.”

After connecting with “her” online, the Prestonwood minister drove 200 miles to meet her in Bryan. He was arrested and released on $7,000 bail.

In 2009, he was sentenced to seven years in prison after reaching a plea deal. He had to serve a quarter of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole and then had to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

While that was the most famous case of child abuse, there have been other allegations.

In the late 1980s, minister John Langworthy was dismissed after charges of child abuse. Langworthy moved to Clinton, Miss. where he served at Morrison Heights Southern Baptist for two decades

“There, he recently received a 50-year suspended sentence for molesting multiple boys as young as 6,” according to Baptist News Global. “But Langworthy avoided prison time because, in the plea bargain process, prosecutors were concerned about the statute of limitations.”

A Facebook group has formed called People Against Prestonwood’s Silence on Allegations of Sexual Abuse.

In December, referring to Langworthy, they posted:

“It still seems unbelievable that Jack Graham was a 2-term President of the Southern Baptist Convention and has been given a complete pass (so far) for his role in allowing a predator to go on a multi-decade rampage raping children across Mississippi. Truly jaw dropping when you think about it.”

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Michigan must recognize ‘window marriages’

Posted on 15 Jan 2015 at 3:04pm

Marriage_Equality_Map_FL_01-12-2015A federal judge ruled Michigan must recognize its “window marriages” performed last year after the state’s marriage law was struck down and before a stay was placed on the ruling.

After Michigan’s marriage law was declared unconstitutional, about 300 couples married in the state before a higher court judge placed a stay on the ruling. Michigan is in the 6th Circuit, which later upheld the state’s right to discriminate.

Now Federal District Judge Mark Goldsmith says the state must recognize those marriage licenses it issued.

“Even though the court decision that required Michigan to allow same-sex couples to marry has now been reversed on appeal, the same-sex couples who married in Michigan during the brief period when such marriages were authorized acquired a status that state officials may not ignore absent some compelling interest — a constitutional hurdle that the defense does not even attempt to surmount,” Goldsmith wrote in the introduction to his opinion.

The “window” lasted only a few hours on March 22, 2014. Goldsmith was not the judge in original decision.

In an interesting note, Goldsmith writes in his opinion that no Supreme Court case addresses the right to maintain a marriage but it’s assumed that when the vows are spoken, “the lifetime of committed intimacy that couples expect will follow.”

He calls Michigan’s refusal to recognize marriages it licenses “entirely unprecedented.”

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Rodeo Goat opens in Dallas on Market Center

Posted on 15 Jan 2015 at 2:08pm

IMG_6400IMG_6397There’s a Rodeo Goat in Tarrant County, but who has time to cross the Trinity for a good burger? Now we don’t have to. The Dallas locale of Rodeo Goat just opened across the street from Dallas Voice offices. Known for its burgers and cheesy fries, it’s not exactly raw-organic-vegan low-fat fare … which is fine with us.

We’ll have a more formal review soon, but until now, this is what it looks like outside the Rodeo Goat.

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WATCH: Hot gay dads in Nikon ad

Posted on 15 Jan 2015 at 1:03pm

gaydadsOK, first off: Who doesn’t wish they had dads as hot and attentive as they two men, Kordale and Kaleb? When their Instagram selfie went viral, though, some folks (anti-gay, anti-black, anti-brains) railed against them. But Nikon begged to differ, and now features the Atlanta couple in a new ad. Anyone who doubts that “gay parenting” is just “parenting” (the way, frankly, “same-sex marriage” is becoming simply “lifelong misery” … I kid, I kid) needs to watch this piece. Worst thing about it? They keep their damn shirts on!

 

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Oscar nomination reward Texans, and there’s even some gay stuff

Posted on 15 Jan 2015 at 9:50am
Boyhood Still7

‘Boyhood’

Two Texas filmmakers — Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater — continue their march to Oscar gold with the Academy Award nominations, which were announced this morning. In addition to their films (The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood, pictured, respectively), Birdman and the gay-centric Imitation Game were among the major nominees.

Budapest tied Birdman with the top number of noms — nine each — including best picture and director. Boyhood managed the same, with six nominations.

Imitation Game, about the gay English mathematician Alan Turing, received eight nods, including one for Benedict Cumberbatch.

Foxcatcher managed five nominations, including one for Steve Carell playing creepy-gay billionaire John DuPont. Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, the gay couple who used to do porn films, saw Julianne Moore, the star of their film Still Alice, get a best actress nomination. Selma got only two nominations, for best picture and best song. That means Guardians of the Galaxy got more noms that MLK, Jr. Lesbian filmmaker Laura Poitras was shortlisted for her amazing documentary Citizenfour, about Edward Snowden and the NSA.

A full list is below:

PictureBirdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game; Selma; The Theory of Everything; American Sniper; Whiplash.

DirectorAlejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman; Richard Linklater, Boyhood; Wes Anderson, Budapest; Morten Tyldum, Imitation; Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher.

Actor: Michael Keaton, Birdman; Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game;  Steve Carell, Foxcatcher; Bradley Cooper, American Sniper.

ActressJulianne Moore, Still Alice; Reese Witherspoon, Wild; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything; Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night.

Supporting actorJ.K. Simmons, Whiplash; Edward Norton, Birdman; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; Robert Duvall, The Judge.

Supporting actressPatricia Arquette, Boyhood; Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; Emma Stone, Birdman; Laura Dern, Wild; Meryl Streep, Into the Woods.

Original screenplay: Birdman; Boyhood; Grand Budapest; Nightcrawler; Foxcatcher.

Adaptation screenplay: Imitation GameWhiplash; Theory of Everything; American Sniper; Inherent Vice.

Cinematography: Birdman; Budapest; Unbroken; Mr. Turner; Ida.

Film editing: Boyhood; Imitation; American Sniper; Budapest; Whiplash.

Score: Imitation; Theory; Budapest; Interstellar; Mr. Turner.

Song: “Glory,” Selma; “Everything is Awesome,” The Lego Movie; “Grateful,” Beyond the Lights; “Lost Stars,” Begin Again; “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.

Sound mixing: Birdman; Sniper; Interstellar; Whiplash; Unbroken.

Sound editingThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Sniper; Birdman; Interstellar; Unbroken.

Production design: Into the Woods; Budapest; Imitation; Interstellar; Mr. Turner.

Costume design: Grand Budapest; Into the Woods; Maleficent; Inherent Vice; Mr. Turner.

VFX: Guardians of the Galaxy; Interstellar; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Makeup: Guardians; Foxcatcher; Budapest.

Documentary featureCitizenfour; Finding Vivien Meier; Last Days in Vietnam; Virunga; The Salt of the Earth.

Animated feature: Big Hero 6; The Boxtrolls; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Song of the Sea; The Tale of Princess Kayuga.

Foreign language filmTangerines; Ida; Leviathan; Timbuktu; Wild Tales.

Live action shortAya; Boogaloo and Graham; Parvaneh; The Phone Call; Butter Lamp.

Animated short: The Bigger Picture; The Dam Keeper; Feat; Me and My Moulton; A Single Life.

Documentary short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1; Joanna; The Reaper; Our Curse; White Earth.

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Preview: Oscar nominations are tomorrow, and here are my predictions

Posted on 14 Jan 2015 at 12:54pm
image-368

Birdman is a hotly fancied contender

The Golden Globes are barely cold (well, they are probably always cold) and it’s already time for the Oscar nominations, which will be announced tomorrow. There are always surprise snubs and inclusions, but if you’re up for an office pool, here’s my educated prediction for the major categories. Just don’t blame me if you lose $5.

Picture. The rules now permit from six to ten nominations, with nine being the usual figure, so here are a list of a dozen films that should make up the final list: Birdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game; Selma; The Theory of Everything; American Sniper; Gone Girl; Whiplash; Unbroken; Foxcatcher; Wild.

Director: Best director will surely be culled from the best picture finalists, so look for some of these directors match their films’ nominations. Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman; Richard Linklater, Boyhood; Wes Anderson, Budapest; Ava DuVernay, Selma; Damien Chazelle, Whiplash; Morten Tyldum, Imitation; James Marsh, Theory; David Fincher, Gone Girl; Clint Eastwood, American Sniper.

Actor: Once more, a strong year, led by these five (and a few spoilers): Michael Keaton, Birdman; Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; David Oyelowo, Selma; plus Steve Carell, Foxcatcher; Bradley Cooper, American Sniper; Ralph Fiennes, Budapest.

Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice; Reese Witherspoon, Wild; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything; Jennifer Aniston, Cake; plus Emily Blunt, Into the Woods; Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night; Amy Adams, Big Eyes.

Supporting Actor: A great category, led by: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash; Edward Norton, Birdman; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; with the final spot a toss up for Tom Wilkinson, Selma; Raz Ahmed, Nightcrawler; Robert Duvall, The Judge; and Miyavi, Unbroken.

Supporting Actress: Not a very deep bench, but the likely nominees were all excellent: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game; Emma Stone, Birdman; Laura Dern, Wild; Meryl Streep, Into the Woods; Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year; and Rene Russo, Nightcrawler.

I’ll post the actual nominees here Thursday morning!

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Church halts funeral over photo of 2 women kissing

Posted on 14 Jan 2015 at 11:42am
Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 11.33.39 AM

This photo of protestors gathered outside New Hope Ministries on Tuesday was provided by protest organizer Jose Silva to ABC News

As we here at Dallas Voice are getting ready to publish on Friday, Jan. 16, the first of what is intended to become the annual Dallas Voice Lesbian Issue, we were horrified to come across this story about a Colorado lesbian whose funeral was halted midstream and forced to move to another location because of a homophobic pastor:

Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 11.37.38 AM

Vanessa Collier

Friends of Vanessa Collier this week protested outside a Lakewood, Colo., church Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 13, after the pastor of New Hope Ministries church stopped their friend’s funeral on Jan. 10 because of a video showing Collier kissing her wife.

Collier, 33, died Dec. 30. She is survived by her wife, Christina Higley, and their two children, among other family members. Jessica Maestas, Collier’s cousin who helped Collier’s mother arrange the funeral, told ABC News that New Hope Ministries was aware that Collier was a lesbian because they told the church about her sexual orientation while they were making funeral arrangements. Maestas also said they told the church that they would be playing a video at the service, and that they had complied with the church’s rule that the video be submitted two days prior to the funeral so church officials could review it.

“I provided the video, and got the okay from the funeral home that we would be able to show it,” Maestas told ABC News.

But last Saturday, about 15 minutes into the funeral, New Hope Pastor Ray Chavez stopped the funeral and told family and friends they would have to remove a video that included photos of Collier kissing Higley, and photos of the two women together with their children. Irate mourners instead gathered up the flowers, the programs for the service and eventually Collier’s casket and moved to a new location. Fortunately, Newcomer Funeral Home, across the street from New Hope Ministries, was able to accommodate the funeral, although the crowd of about 180 had to pack into a room intended for about half that many.

Collier’s longtime friend Victoria Quintana told the Denver Post that the whole incident was “humiliating [and] devastating.”

The Post reported that about four dozen people gathered outside New Hope Ministries on Tuesday afternoon, waving signs saying “Shame on Pastor Ray” and demanding an apology for what happened, as security guards posted around the church made sure none of the protesters moved onto church property.

ABC News also notes that Collier’s relatives say they have received no refund on the money they paid New Hope Ministries to host the funeral.

Both ABC News and the Denver Post said that no one at New Hope Ministries would comment on the situation.

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