Bride in Front-Page Gay Wedding Story Dies of Brain Cancer

A couple of weeks ago, the Laurel Leader-Call in Mississippi ran a front page story celebrating the first-ever gay wedding ceremony in the area (even if the marriage was not legally recognized):

There’s some sad news to report: The couple in the picture were Jessica Powell and Crystal Craven (in the hat) and, on Monday, Craven died from a brain tumor. She was only 34:

Powell said that, even though it was a sad decision to make, Crystal decided not to go through chemo again. She said: “Crystal told me that she was tired of hurting, tired of being sick and tired of fighting.”

Speaking of their wedding day, she said: “My vow to her was forever, not until death do us part.”

That’s true love.

And that’s a relationship many Christians think irreparably harms the institution of marriage.

If only every couple could be so lucky to cause that much damage.

(Thanks to Alan for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Miss_Beara

    “My vow to her was forever, not until death do us part.”

    :,-(

    I am glad they got to get married, even if it wasn’t legally recognize, before her death.

  • named

    I just know this is going to get backlash where hundreds of people claim “GOD STRUCK HER DOWN!”

    Christians ruin everything.

    • DT

      Perhaps you could quote a Christian who said that about this story in order to make your claim a little stronger.

      • named

        I made no real claim outside of my opinion on how Christians tend to handle sensitive issues. The bulk of my post was a simple statement relating to any and all hate groups that assert that God only kills the people that deserve it (see any news on West Baptist Church for further understanding of the subject matter). While Christians preach forgiveness, too often do they irrationally decide who should receive it based on biblical biases, despite claims that only God could deliver such judgement. Even the slightest bit of popularity, and many judgmental people could claim moral victory in instances like this.

        I’m sorry, but I can’t quote introspection or intuition based solely on historical instances. I’ll wait to see if this makes it on the Christian FOX NEWS to see if my prediction was accurate.

        • vincent findley

          West Baptist Church, the “Star Magazine” of religion.

      • midnight rambler

        I can’t quote exactly what was said because the article is behind a paywall, but from the front page preview of the current Laurel Leader-Call article (emphasis added):

        I can’t say that I’ve ever been to a happy funeral, but the one I went to last week seemed extra sad.

        It wasn’t the funeral of a family member. It wasn’t even someone I knew well. We just met a little over a moth ago, but it’s hard to say goodbye to someone so young who lost a fight with brain cancer. She was only 34.

        I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t been affected by cancer in one way or another. Anyone who knows asomeone who lost the battle [with cancer] should be touched by the story and show compassion to her loved ones. Right?

        Unfortunately, that is the opposite of what many of our readers did about a month ago when I wrote a story about her wedding.

        Crystal Craven married the one she called the love of her life on Feb 2 in a small ceremony in downtown Laurel. Although my report had no evidence of whether I supported same-sex marriage and it pointed out that the…

  • JadeWilson

    Both beautiful and terribly sad.

  • Zaydin

    That’s a shame to hear. It’s true what Lewis Black said: The good die young, but pricks live forever.

    How long do you think it’s gonna take a bigoted Christian to claim it was God punishing her for being gay?

    • Miss_Beara

      Because where their heart and brain should be there is a blank and bottomless void.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    That’s very sad. I’m so glad they managed to get married before she died, it’s just a great pity that it wasn’t legally recognised. What harm did their getting married do anyone?

  • Stev84

    And of course the obituary from the funeral home called her wife and stepson “special friends”:

    http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2000373&fh_id=12149

    • debbie

      The family pays for and writes the obituary. Since her mother was apparently not for the union, she was the one that wrote it. The LLC would not have been worried about writing that in, since they are the ones that covered the story

  • Anon

    My heart goes out to her wife and family for having lost her so young.

    Now I’m just waiting for somebody to claim that being gay causes cancer or something like that.

  • DT

    That’s sad. A wonderful thing to say though. Not just for life, but forever. Would that all confessions of love remember that.

  • pagansister

    Truly sad—-Even if the marriage wasn’t legally recognized, they were married as far as they were concerned—that is what is important.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Damn. No chance of the vultures passing this one by, is there?

  • midnight rambler

    This post leaves out an important, if depressing, part of the story. Here is the current Laurel Leader-Call article (go to p. 7 for the continued article; emphasis added):

    I can’t say that I’ve ever been to a happy funeral, but the one I went to last week seemed extra sad.

    It wasn’t the funeral of a family member. It wasn’t even someone I knew well. We just met a little over a moth ago, but it’s hard to say goodbye to someone so young who lost a fight with brain cancer. She was only 34.

    I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t been affected by cancer in one way or another. Anyone who knows asomeone who lost the battle [with cancer] should be touched by the story and show compassion to her loved ones. Right?

    Unfortunately, that is the opposite of what many of our readers did about a month ago when I wrote a story about her wedding.

    Crystal Craven married the one she called the love of her life on Feb 2 in a small ceremony in downtown Laurel. Although my report had no evidence of whether I supported same-sex marriage and it pointed out that the union was not legal in this state, we were pelted with rude remarks on the subject. Thank goodness for Crystal, the tables turned when our story went viral, and she was able to feel compassion and support from all over the globe.

    [description of funeral deleted; the author notes that the pastor "didn't have anything condemning to say. Instead, he spoke a message of peace."]

    As I looked around the chapel filled with her family and friends, something seemed to be missing.

    Where was Jessica?

    She wasn’t there. Later I found out why. Jessica told me that Crystals mother said she would call the police if she showed up. Jessica said Crystal’s mother had been unkind to her since the wedding. I can’t wrap my head around that.

    Jessica was there, though. Crystal was buried in Palestine Baptist Church Cemetery. Jessica watch the events from the laundromat across the street. After everyone left, the gravediggers allowed Jessica the chance to say goodbye.

    I can’t fathom why everyone was so angry about their wedding. You may not agree with their lifestyle, but nothing they did hurt you or your family.

    Imagine what would happen if we put that much effort into calling our legislators and telling them how angry we are that murders have been released from prison into our communities.

    Are doctors allowed to turn away gay patients? No.

    Are teachers allowed to turn away gay students? No.

    Why should a newspaper turn away a touching story about the fulfillment of someone’s dying wish?

    I may or may not agree with same-sex marriage, but here are some of the things I do believe in, things that Jessica and crystal shared.

    I believe in love.
    I believe in friendship.
    I believe in compassion.

  • Randy Robbins

    To DT: Give it a couple more days and you’ll have your quote. It’s out there, it would just be too callous to print one so soon after Crystal’s death.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    RIP Crystal, and I hope Jessica finds some peace. hold your head high, woman. you stood up to hate and your example will inspire millions and not be forgotten.

  • Drew M.

    Oh no. :(

    In pace requiescat, Crystal.

  • Waltz707

    I’m going to take a moment to promote something that everyone can do for gay couples who want to be married; become an ordained minister. Seriously. It’s free, and takes about two seconds. What better way to get back at the bigots then to marry as many gay couples as you possibly can?


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