A man is suing a Mississippi funeral home for refusing to provide their services after the business discovered his deceased partner was gay.
Jack Zawadski was told by the Picayune Funeral Home that they did not “deal with their kind” after receiving paper work indicating that he and his deceased partner Robert Huskey were married.
“I felt as if all the air had been knocked out of me,” Jack tells Lambda Legal.
“Bob was my life, and we had always felt so welcome in this community. And then, at a moment of such personal pain and loss, to have someone do what they did to me, to us, to Bob, I just couldn’t believe it. No one should be put through what we were put through.”
Jack and Bob were together for 52 years and wed in 2015 after the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage.
Bob’s health deteriorated soon after the wedding and he went to live in a nursing home, passing away in May 2016—just days after his 86th birthday.
Bob’s nephew John Gaspari made arrangements with the funeral home but received a call soon after saying that the business would not be following through on their agreement.
“Discrimination in death is unacceptable. I’m hoping that laws are changed prohibiting this anywhere in the United States,” says Gaspari.
In a video produced by Lambda Legal—who have joined the lawsuit—Jack describes the pain the funeral home has caused him.
“It was unbelievable, I didn’t realise this was going to happen. I knew Bob was going to pass but I didn’t know he was going to be denied.”
Lambda Legal Counsel Beth Littrell says that what is happening to this family is “shocking”.
“Almost immediately after losing his husband and partner of more than 50 years, Jack Zawadski’s grief was compounded by injustice and callous treatment from the very place that should have helped ease his suffering.
“Following Bob’s death, the funeral home, the only one in the area with a crematorium, refused to honour agreed-upon funeral arrangements after learning that Bob and Jack were married.”
Jack says he hopes the lawsuit brings honour to his husband, Bob.
You can watch the full video below: