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Gay Man Says Church Members Pinned Him Down to Pray the Gay Away

Gay Man Says Church Members Pinned Him Down to Pray the Gay Away

Sean Cormie says that his family’s church held him to the ground and chanted anti-gay abuse.

When Sean Cormie recently came out to his family, he never expected things to become violent. But now the Oklahoma man says he was attacked and restrained after attending services at his family's church.

Cormie lives in a rural farming area of Oklahoma. Since he came out, he says that his family has been trying to persuade him to come to church with his boyfriend, Gary Gardner. Earlier this month, the couple finally agreed and attended the First Assembly of God Church in Blackwell with Cormie's family.

"I wanted to go to church to make my mom proud and make her happy," he told Oklahoma's KFOR.

But during the services, the pastor asked Gardner and Cormie to approach the altar. A gang of parishoners surrounded them, hurling homophobic abuse. "It's a sin, it's an abomination, you need to realize, wake up, and see it for a sin," Cormie recalls hearing.

When they tried to leave, Gardner was separated from Cormie and escorted out. Cormie says he was then slammed to the ground by a relative, and a dozen church members held him down.

"They started holding me down praying in tongues, which I just started crying," Cormie said. "I was just crying 'mercy, mercy.'"

Eventually, Cormie's sister intervened and persuaded the mob to release him, although she participated in the verbal harassment as well. Cormie was left with bruises, including a black eye. The couple filed a police report, and also contacted a local LGBTQ+ center and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Since then, Cormie says his family has pressured him to drop the issue.

It was a trying ordeal for Cormie, who is still processing his sexuality. On one hand he believes that his homosexuality is a sin, but on the other, he says, "I'm full fledged gay, you can't change it. ... It's my nature. I'm born that way, so let it be."

For his part, Gardner says that the church should be shut down. "If they're going to treat people like that, they don't need to be open," he told the local station KWTV-DT.

Cormie agrees that there should be repercussions for his family's church. "I love the pastors with all my heart, but what they did was totally wrong, and I want some kind of consequences out of it," he said.

The church claims that "there is much more to this incident" and it is "are cooperating fully with law enforcement."

Police are investigating but haven't commented yet on what they've learned.

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