Gay Couple's Headstone Rejected By Cemetery

A Catholic cemetery and a gay couple from Louisville, Kentucky are making headlines thanks to their celebratory tombstone design.

Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon are a couple of 34 years and fathers of two adopted children.

The couple reserved a joint burial plot at St. Michael Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, but the local Catholic Archdiocese rejected their proposed headstone design, which featured their surnames joined by wedding bands above a drawing of the United States Supreme Court.

The couple played a key role in the Supreme Court victory that led to the legalisation of marriage equality across United States in June 2015, which they explained is the reason they want to depict it on their headstone.

Gay Couple's Headstone Rejected By Cemetery
According to Javier Rajardo, an executive director of Catholic Cemeteries for the Louisville archdiocese, the refusal occurred because the proposed headstone included the images of the wedding bands and the court.

He explained in a letter to the couple that the imagery they wanted conflicts with the church’s teachings.

“Having reviewed your proposed gravestone inscription please note we can approve your shared stone with both your names and dates of birth and of course the religious symbol of the cross,” Rajardo said.

“Inscriptions on grave markers are permitted so long as they do not conflict with any teachings of the Church. Your proposed markings are not in keeping with this requirement.”

Michael told local broadcaster WLKY News: “We chose our memorial to commemorate one of our largest accomplishments in life.”

“From my perspective it feels a lot like deliberate retaliation against our family, I would just like to ask, ‘Does anyone think that’s what Jesus would do?'” he said.

Although there is no legal solution for this situation, the couple stated that they are not going to accept the church’s decision.

Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon have been committed Catholics for more than three decades, but this is not the first time they faced discrimination within the church.

Last year, the local church-supported Boy Scout Troup dismissed Bourke because of his sexual orientation, he said. He hasn’t been able to return to the organisation ever since.

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