A Southern Baptist pastor who came out
in support of gay rights and against his church's position on
homosexuality says it was difficult to hear “abomination” and his
gay son's name in the same sentence.
Pastor Danny Cortez changed his mind
after his son Drew came out to him in 2014.
Despite the very real possibility that
he could lose his job, Cortez revealed his new position to his
congregation in a church sermon. “I was driving my son Drew to
school, and he turned over to me and he says, 'Dad, I'm gay.' I
remember I just turned around and I hugged him so hard. And I said,
'I love you so much, son.'”
In a StoryCorp conversation, father and
son reflected on that moment.
“That morning I came to church, my
blood pressure was super high. I felt so much stress, and everyone
was wondering what's going on,” the elder Cortez said. “But I
remember as I was speaking, I felt empowered like I hadn't felt in
such a long time. I knew that what I was sharing that Sunday was
“I felt vulnerable,” said Drew
Cortez, who was sitting in the pews that day. “”I just remember
thinking what was going to happen after this. This is our life now.”
The father said that he had heard his
son's name paired with the word “abomination” in the same
“As a father it was so difficult to
hear that, because we felt like they didn't know our son,” he
said. “There's a part of me that says, yes, I want to love
people that disagree with me, who disagree with us. But the other
part of me now is asking, 'But how can I do it in [a] way that honors
The speech caused the congregation to
split, with Danny Cortez and other members going on to form an
LGBT-inclusive, nondenominational church.