BLACKWELL, Oklahoma - A same-sex couple said they were attacked at a Blackwell church and one was held down, while church goers tried to, quote, “pray the gay away.” 

Gary Gardner of Blackwell said he and his boyfriend, Sean Cormie, were invited to The First Assembly of God Church by Cormie’s family. Gardner said everything started okay. Then, the pastor asked them to approach the alter.

“A lot of Sean’s family came over and started praying on us, and church members started praying on us and started getting louder and louder and louder,” said Gardner.

Gardner said he started to leave, then was pushed out by other church members while Cormie was held inside and slammed to the ground by his stepfather, who also attends church there.

“Sort of picked him up and body slammed him over and started praying on him, and when they were doing that, Sean ended up with marks on his arms a black eye and sort of blacked out,” said Gardner.

Cormie added, “They started holding me down praying in tongues, which I just started crying.”

Cormie was left bruised. He said the group about 12 to 15 people, eventually let him up. 

“My sister convinced them to let me go,” said Cormie. “She held my face and said, ‘God is in you speak, speak, speak Sean. This is not their judgment this is God’s judgment. They don’t have the power of God in their minds.’”

The church released a statement saying, “This began as a family matter that escalated. Our church would never condone restraint of any person unless they were engaged in violent activity. There is much more to this incident, and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement to hopefully bring all of the facts to light as a rush to judgment is not in anyone's best interest.”

“We want the church shut down,” said Gardner. “If they’re going to treat people like that, they don’t need to be open.”