Tennessee

Church kicks out family for supporting lesbian daughter in benefits fight

Kat Cooper (right) and her wife, Krista, from their Maryland wedding trip earlier this year. Staff Reports

COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. — A Tennessee church has banned an entire family from its congregation after they supported their lesbian daughter while she fought for same-sex partner benefits from the town where she worked as a police detective.

Pastor Ken Willis of the Ridgedale Church of Christ in Chattanooga said the action was necessary because the family was publicly endorsing homosexuality by supporting their daughter.

Kat Cooper (right) and her wife, Krista, from their Maryland wedding trip earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Collegedale became the first city in Tennessee to offer same-sex partner benefits after Detective Kat Cooper was initially denied health benefits for her wife, Krista. The couple was married in Maryland earlier this year.

But Cooper’s mother Linda, who had stayed by her daughter’s side throughout the months long process to win council approval for the benefits, and Kat Cooper’s aunt and uncle found themselves meeting with church leadership on Sunday, who gave them an ultimatum: Repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation, or leave the church, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Cooper’s family, who had been members of the church for over six decades, were told by Willis that support of Kat Cooper was as good as them making an endorsement of homosexuality as being acceptable.

“The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle,” Willis said. “The Bible speaks very plainly about that.”

Kat Cooper’s father, Hunt, said that he was devastated at having to leave the church that his family nearly founded, but the decision was simple for his family.

“There’s no sin to repent for,” he said, adding that his family rejects the notion that being gay is a lifestyle choice.

“My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That’s it,” said Kat Cooper. “Literally, they’re exiling members for unconditionally loving their children — and even extended family members.”

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