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Rest in peace: Atlanta gay cemetery plans are dead

Plans for a gay section in an Atlanta cemetery are dead.

A spokesperson for Service Corporation International based in Houston, which owns Crest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Atlanta, said today there were never plans to partition off a section of the cemetery for gay people and families. SEI is “North America’s largest single provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services,” according to its website.

“The information was pretty much incorrect,” said Jessica McDunn, corporate spokesperson for SEI. “We are not planning a segregated section.”

The news contradicts what John Suggs of H.M. Patterson & Son - Oglethorpe Hill told GA Voice on April 4.  SEI owns H.M. Patterson and Son-Oglethorpe Hill.

Suggs, who is gay, said April 4 he was speaking as a spokesperson for the planned project of sectioning off part of Crest Lawn for gay people. Suggs provided detailed information, including that an architect was currently working on plans for the section. He also emailed photos of the cemetery to go with the story.

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Gay cemetery plans under way in Atlanta

Gay couples and families who want to spend eternity together may soon have the chance to do so with plans for a gay section in an Atlanta cemetery.

John Suggs, family services counselor and spokesperson for H.M. Patterson and Son in Atlanta, said the idea of having a gay section in a cemetery seemed like a natural progression as gay men and lesbians gather more acceptance in mainstream society. Patterson and Son is a member of Dignity Memorial.

"I think it's a good idea because it is about a sense of community, connection and because it's a tradition," said Suggs, who is gay.

"We have to make our traditions. In a way this is a way to honor our relationships in a simple but proud way. Being able to be next to your partner at end of life is important, comforting and a reassuring thing to know," he said.

Suggs' company recently purchased Crest Lawn Memorial Park in downtown Atlanta and plans are to section off a piece of the cemetery for gay people — couples, their children, single people, people who want to be with their chosen families.