A Mississippi funeral home is accused of refusing to transport and cremate a gay man’s body.
Widower Jack Zawadski, 82, lost his partner of 52 years and yet he says his suffering didn’t end there. He claims a funeral home in Picayune, Mississippi refused him service.
“I felt as if all the air had been knocked out of me,’ said Zawadski, who has since filed a discrimination lawsuit against Picayune Funeral Home. Zawadski and his partner, Robert Huskey, had lived in Picayune for about 20 years.
“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 two men got married in the summer of 2015, shortly after they could legally do so in the state. But Huskey’s health took a turn for the worse and he eventually passed away in a nursing home last May.
It’s alleged that when the funeral home received paperwork from the nursing home identifying Zawadski as Huskey’s husband, they refused to pick up and cremate his body, this despite arrangements having been made in advance.
Zawadski and a nephew were forced to find another funeral home with an on-site crematorium, but the closest was 90 miles away. On top of that, they also had to find another funeral home in Picayune that was willing to transport Huskey’s body from the nursing home to the new site.
Lambda Legal has joined Zawadski in his lawsuit and together they are seeking damages for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.