A man is suing a funeral home that refused to pick up his husband.
Robert Huskey passed in May of last year, leaving behind his partner of 52 years, Jack Zawadski. Zawadski’s nephew hired the Picayune Funeral Home in Mississippi to make funeral arrangements.
According to a formal lawsuit by Lambda Legal, the funeral home refused to pick up the body after learning Huskey was gay.
“I felt as if all the air had been knocked out of me,” said Zawadski, 86, in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
The family took the body to another funeral home almost 100 miles away.
Now, Zawadski is suing the funeral home and parent company Brewer Funeral Services for breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent misrepresentation. Lambda Legal announced the lawsuit Tuesday.
“John made all necessary arrangements before Bob’s passing in order to shield his…uncle from additional suffering and to allow friends to gather to support Jack in his grief,” Lambda Legal Attorney Beth Littrell said according to NBC News. “Instead, Bob’s peaceful passing was marred by turmoil, distress and indignity, adding immeasurable anguish to Jack and John’s loss. This should not have happened to them, and should not be allowed to happen again.”
Mississippi’s House Bill 1523 gives companies the right to turn away LGBT people on religious grounds.
Democrats reintroduced the Equality Act on Tuesday, aiming to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The act currently bans discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion and national origin.
Check out a video on Jack's story by Lambda Legal below.