Collegedale, Tenn., resident Linda Cooper has been asked to leave a church she has attended for six decades because she would not publicly condemn her daughter’s lesbian lifestyle in front of the congregation.
Cooper’s daughter, Kat, is a detective with the Collegedale Police Department. She and her partner Krista were married in Maryland in May. The couple has been fighting the Collegedale city government in an effort to be granted the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. They recently won over legislators, and Collegedale became the first city in Tennessee to introduce same-sex benefits.
Throughout the entire legal process, Linda Cooper supported her daughter. But her public support did not sit well with the church, and she was asked to either publicly denounce her daughter’s lifestyle or leave.
Cooper chose her daughter.
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“My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That's it,” Kat Cooper said, acccording to The Daily Mail. “Literally, they're exiling members for unconditionally loving their children — and even extended family members.”
The Coopers have attended the church for decades, reports the New York Daily News. Linda Cooper was raised in the church, and her father’s plaque hangs on its walls.
“This is not just some casual church they dropped in on," said Hunt Cooper, Kat's father and Linda's husband.
Linda Cooper has not taken the exile from her church well.
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“She is just so traumatized and so upset,” Hunt Cooper said. “It has been days and she's still crying. It's almost like losing a family member.”
The Coopers, who do not believe homosexuality is a choice, continue to support their daughter. Hunt said it was not the church’s place to judge Linda.
“That was between her and her God and it was not their place to judge her for that,” he said.
Ridgedale Church of Christ minister Ken Willis spoke briefly on the church’s decision to exile Cooper.
“The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle," Willis said. “The Bible speaks very plainly about that. You certainly can't condone that lifestyle, whether it's any kind of sin — whether they're shacked up with someone or living in a state of fornication or they're guilty of crimes. You don't condone it."