Same-sex couple says priest denied them communion due to relationship

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. -- A couple who lives outside of Chillicothe say their priest denied them communion when he discovered they were in a same-sex relationship. Carol Parker and her partner of nearly 20 years, Josephine Martin, say they were good standing members of Saint Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe for 12 years.

They say that all changed when Parker had her mother's funeral at the church following her death on December 26th. The obituary noted Parker's mother was survived by a son, a daughter and her daughter's partner.

"If that one word had not been in there, he would be fine," said Martin.

Parker said she had been a member since 2001 and served as a lector, a cantor and also sang in the choir.

"He had called me the day of the rosary and said he wouldn't be able to give us communion because of our same-sex relationship," said Parker.

The couple says they will never step foot in the church again. Parker said it took away a final opportunity.

"It was very important to me, my last opportunity to worship here at the church with her," Parker said. "

Martin said she and Parker don't understand why the priest compounded the pain of a funeral with his decision.

"To be singing in the choir and be lectors, and everything, it's all God. He just took it away in a second," Martin said. "I just really don't understand where his heart is."

FOX 4 did attempt to speak with Father Benjamin Kneib but we were told by his secretary that he did not wish to comment. Parker and Martin say they have found another church that has welcomed them. Parker said even after the experience and with the new church being an hour away, she still wants to worship.

"My faith is strong enough that I wasn't going to let this deter me to go to church," she said.

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