Man Sues Mississippi Funeral Home For Allegedly Refusing To Cremate The Body Of His Male Partner Of 52 Years

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Our hearts are breaking for Jack Zawadski.

The 83-year-old Mississippi resident lost his recent husband and romantic partner of 52 years, Robert Huskey, in May 2016.

Due to Huskey’s deteriorating health, arrangements were already made with the Picayune Funeral Home prior to the 86-year-old’s death.

But after the funeral home found out through paperwork that Robert was married to another man, they allegedly refused to handle the dead body because it doesn’t “deal with their kind.”

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The two were childhood friends in Chicago in the 1940s, and due to a mutual friend’s urging, reconnected 20 years later and fell in love. They spent the their lives teaching special education classes around the country before retiring to Picayune, Mississippi 20 years ago.

When gay marriage was legalized in 2015, Zawadski and Huskey became the first gay couple to get hitched in Hancock County — but soon after, Huskey’s health started to decline.

After Huskey fell extremely ill before his death from congestive heart failure, Zawadski’s great nephew, John Gaspari, made arrangements with the local funeral home where he was assured everything would be “taken care of.”

But the home failed to mention they only take care of grieving spouses of heterosexual nature. Zawadski explained to People:

“John did everything, he set up everything because I was at the point of no return, I was losing my best friend. But he then told me that [the funeral home] refused to bury Bob because we were a gay couple, we were ├óΓé¼╦£People of that kind.’ “

So fucking infuriating!

Zawadski and his great nephew are now suing the funeral home for breach of verbal agreement, and “knowingly leaving the decedent’s body without proper storage for hours while the family scrambled to find alternative arrangements.”

The suit also alleges that the funeral home refused to transport Huskey’s body and “otherwise breached their agreements upon learning that the deceased was a gay man whose next of kin was his lawful husband, communicating only that they did not ├óΓé¼╦£Deal with their kind.’ ”

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Zawadski says he and Huskey have never experienced discrimination of this magnitude in all their years together, adding:

“I was so angry. So angry and hurt. In all of our years together, we had never experienced something this negative. What kind of people are these to deny cremation? We have to be better than this.”

No doubt there — except the funeral home is saying it isn’t the bigoted business it’s accused of being.

Henrietta Brewer, the owner and manager of Picayne, completely denies the lawsuit’s allegations, saying they’ve given “several gay funerals” in the past. She refuted:

“We definitely did not refuse a gay man. We have had several gay funerals since we’ve owned the funeral home, we have gay men buried in our cemeteries. There was no contract. There was never a contract with them ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ in fact, until we were served the papers, we had never heard of those two people.”

Inneresting… hopefully there was a miscommunication of some sorts, as we can’t stand the idea of a funeral home rejecting the body of anyone, regardless of their race, creed, or sexual orientation.

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Despite the funeral home’s defense, Zawadski’s attorney Beth Littrell hopes the case will “send a message that anti-gay discrimination is intolerable in a civilized society.” No court date has been set yet, but we’re curious to see how this pans out.

Watch the video (below) to hear more about Jack and Bobby’s story:

[Image via Jack Zawadski/People.]

May 5, 2017 5:42pm PDT

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