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|Gay cemetery plans under way in Atlanta|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|April 04, 2011 16:15|
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.
Being buried together as families is tradition within heterosexual families and having a gay section in the cemetery is another way for LGBT people to remain together as community, Suggs said.
"With so many people having children, adopting children, this seemed like a natural progression," he said. "Being surrounded by family is important to many."
Suggs said the only other known gay cemetery is in Denmark and was opened in 2008. Denmark was also the first country to legally recognize gay civil unions in 1989.
In Atlanta, the gay section of the Crest Lawn Memorial Park will include space for internment as well as urns of those who are cremated, Suggs said. How many plots will be available are now known yet.
Currently, an architect is making renderings for the section and once those are complete more information on how large and what the section will look like will be made known, Suggs said.
Top photo: Plans are underway to have a gay section of Crest Lawn cemetery in Atlanta that includes a view of the city's skyline. (courtesy photo)
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