Community & Religious Responses: Backlash
Responses to LGBTQ+ people from religious organizations and communities in Central PA, and the nation at large, were mixed. Debates over the ordination of LGBTQ+ ministers raged throughout the end of the 20th century. Debates over the sinfulness of homosexuality played out in newspapers throughout the country, including in Central PA. Local LGBTQ+ religious groups such as MCC Lancaster and MCC Harrisburg faced backlash from communities when they tried to buy their own buildings. The Harrisburg Men’s Chorus, comprised largely of gay men, had a performance cancelled at a church in York due to religious condemnation of LGBTQ+ people. And, during the AIDs crisis, churches would refuse to hold funerals for gay men who died of AIDs.
What was worse around here was church reaction. Guys could not get funerals. There wasn’t a whole lot of—of problem with undertakers; they could deal with it. But churches couldn’t, just couldn’t, so there were a lot of funerals in funeral homes. A lot of families would not show up for the funeral.” – David Walker, 2015