After 60 years of attending a Tennessee church, a family in Collegedale has been exiled because they supported their daughter while she fought for same sex benefits from the town where she worked as a police detective.
Earlier this month, Collegedale became the first city in Tennessee to offer same sex benefits after Detective Kat Cooper was initially denied health benefits for her wife, Krista. The couple was married in Maryland earlier this year.
But that victory turned out to be bittersweet because leaders at Ridgedale Church of Christ gave Kat Cooper's mother, aunt and uncle an ultimatum during a private meeting after worship services on Sunday.
"They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church," The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on Wednesday.
"My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That's it," Kat Cooper explained to reporter Kevin Hardy. "Literally, they're exiling members for unconditionally loving their children -- and even extended family members."
Ridgedale Church of Christ Pastor Ken Willis said that something had to be done because the family was publicly endorsing homosexuality by supporting their daughter.
"The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle," Willis insisted. "The Bible speaks very plainly about that."
"But 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," he added. "You don't condone it. You still love them as a parent."
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 wife, her brother and her sister.
"There's no sin to repent for," he pointed out to the Times Free Press. "And she's not going to turn her back on her daughter."
Watch this video from the The Chattanooga Times Free Press, broadcast Aug. 21, 2013.