I had hoped that I would not have to post an announcement like this. I had hoped that the campaign against our community in Virginia would not descend into the kind of ugliness we saw in Oregon 14 years ago. Those of you who saw the film “Ballot Measure 9” will know what I am talking about. The use of demonizing rhetoric about the GLBT community in the campaign to pass a ballot initiative in that state gave rise to a pattern of anti-gay vandalism and violence that escalated as election day neared.
Yesterday, we received a report of a hate crime that occurred in Aldie in the early hours of Saturday, July 29. A home was vandalized, with damage estimated to be around $10,000. More than 80 trees and shrubs were ripped out or cut down, and the word FAG was painted repeatedly on and around the home. An accelerant had been poured on the lawn and around the house. It’s not clear at this point whether the perpetrators had intended to set the house on fire but were scared off before they had finished the job.
I am disgusted and saddened. To make matters worse, a young child, a relative who was visiting the homeowners, had to see this.
The good news is that the homeowners do feel that this crime is being taken seriously and being investigated by law enforcement as what it is: a hate crime and act of terrorism. We don’t know at this point either who the perpetrators are or the totality of their motivations, but regardless of those details this crime has taken place in the context of the increasingly shrill scapegoating of our community by the activists and elected officials who are determined to write discrimination into our Bill of Rights.
In Oregon, the discriminatory ballot initiative failed in large part because of its proponents’ outlandish propaganda and the terror that it unleashed. I had hoped that the anti-gay right might have learned a lesson from that defeat. Perhaps not. It is vital that the whole community be engaged to stop this hate in its tracks, and send a message to our local anti-gay activists that it will only backfire and hurt their campaign.
They need to understand this: You have gone too far. Not in our community, not in our town.
We will keep you informed of all developments in this matter, and of ways that you can give support to our Aldie friends. You can reach Heyward and John at email@example.com.
Please watch out for yourselves and for each other.
Photo credit: Isis
NBC News 4 briefly covered this incident in the 6 am news hour, this Blog contained more details. It’s a real shame that this happened. I’m shocked. I sincerely hope the perpertrators of this incident are caught, procescuted and order to make full restitution to these gentlemen in Loudoun County.
A DC Resident,
I first heard this story reported on the NBC4 (D.C.) broadcast this morning but when I later went to their website this was the one story that was missing a link. I immediately sent an email to the station asking why this was so and by noon the story with a slideshow appeared on the website with a personal email sent to me by the station which included a link to the story. I wasn’t about to let this just drop off the radar, but am appreciative of the fact that NBC4 was so quick to remedy this. Here’s the link:
Thank you very much for your comments, and the link. I saw the NBC coverage at 11 last night, and it was very short on details. The homeowners told me that the Fox coverage Saturday night was very good, though. It was the lead story and they covered it in some depth. They provide a link with a video, here.
We hope that the perpetrators will be turned in and punished to the full extent of the law. In the meantime, our objective is to engage the whole community to restore our friends’ property and their sense of safety. We’ll be keeping you informed of opportunities to do that.
I hope you are telling the reporters and editors that. It’s up to us to insist that the news media get it right. In most cases the inaccuracies are not out of animus, it’s just that they don’t understand something or don’t pay close enough attention, and they need our help.
It amazes me how little the reporters I’ve spoken with know about the amendment, for example, and they appreciate getting information they don’t have to dig for.
We’ll have to see what ends up in the article, but one reporter I talked to about this hate crime was reluctant to mention the fact that there was a young child in the home at the time, because that fact was “too emotional.” Yes, it’s emotional. Can you imagine if, as ludicrous as this sounds, a heterosexual family was targeted because they are heterosexual, and there were children in the house during the attack? Would putting those children in jeopardy not be the focus of that report? I think not. I only raise this because one of our locals actually posted a comment to the online forum of Leesburg Today questioning whether this was a hate crime.
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….and were supposed to be worried about terrorists coming over from Britain and the Middle east????!!!! We have our own, home grown American brand, right here in Northern VA. That’s what concerns me!!
I think its disgusting and rather sad that you’re using this particular incident as an excuse to paint everyone who supports the marriage-amendment as a bunch of extremists. Or for that matter, trying to tie this vandalism to the amendment issue in the first place. Really shows that you’re grabbing for straws and its quite pathetic to say the least.
I’m not condoning what those people did, but at the same time I also don’t condone people like you making politics out of a tragedy. Shame on you and your organization.
And for your information, the ballot initiative to ban same-sex “marriage” in Oregon did in fact pass by 53%, so please get your facts straight.
Please check the link in the post and watch “Ballot Measure 9”. That’s the measure that David was referring to, not Oregon’s anti-gay “marriage” amendment. I don’t understand where you found the many assumptions in your opening sentence. Care to explain? Do you condone “people like you making politics out of” other people’s families?