Catholic Funeral Services Denied To Gay Business Man

San Diego, Imperial Catholic Churches Barred From Holding Services

Funeral services for a man whose nightclubs cater to the gay community were held at an Episcopal church Friday after San Diego Bishop Robert Brom reportedly ruled out Catholic services for the man.

Brom decided not to allow any of the 98 Roman Catholic churches in San Diego or Imperial counties to hold services for Club Montage owner John McCusker Jr. because the diocese deemed his business "inconsistent with Catholic moral teaching," according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

McCusker, 31, died Sunday of congestive heart failure while vacationing in Mammoth, his family told the newspaper.

Brom made the decision three days later after learning that McCusker's family planned a funeral at the Immaculata Catholic Church on the campus of the University of San Diego, where McCusker attended school, the Union-Tribune reported.

Mike Portantino, a friend of McCusker's and publisher of the San Diego-based Gay & Lesbian Times, said McCusker's family members are devout Catholics and his mother taught catechism, the newspaper reported.

McCusker's funeral was held at St. Paul's Cathedral near Balboa Park, at 11 a.m. Friday, the Union-Tribune reported. It was followed by burial at Temecula Public Cemetery in Temecula.

"Our basic philosophy at the cathedral is whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on the journey of faith, we welcome you," said the Rev. Scott Richardson, St. Paul's dean.

McCusker's popular nightclub, Club Montage, caters to a straight crowd Friday nights and a gay crowd Saturday nights. He also owned a gay bar in North Park called ReBar.

Diocese officials told the Union-Tribune that the bishops' order has nothing to do with the fact McCusker was gay, but rather his "public activity" as a businessman.

A notice on the Club Montage Web site announced that "sadly and regretfully Club Montage is closed indefinitely."

The family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in McCusker's name to the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation.

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