A family was initially denied
funeral services by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego because the
deceased was gay, according to San Diego's Channel 10 News.
Sanfilippo, who died last week, had been a member
of Our Lady of the Rosary in Little Italy for decades and even left
money to the church in his will. His family, however, was informed last weekend that the church would be unable to host his funeral services, although ultimately, church officials released a statement saying they would allow the funeral.
The chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, Rodrigo Valdivia, sent an email saying, "Diocesan Authorities have concluded that the funeral as scheduled at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish may take place. Plans for the ritual are yet to be made," in addition to offering an apology.
However, Sanfilippo's family and
friends, including his partner of 28 years, have since arranged to
have the services Thursday at the Holy Cross
Cemetery and Mausoleum in San Diego.
Nicole Murray-Ramirez, a
friend of Sanfilippo's, said, “It’s like 2005 all over again for us
Catholics ... especially us gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
Catholics,” in reference to gay businessman John McCusker being denied Catholic funeral services that year.