Open letter to representatives, Aldie hate crime

The following is an open letter sent to Loudoun County elected representatives, published in local newspapers the first week of August, 2006.

Most of you by now will have heard from the Sheriff’s Office about the horrific anti-gay hate crime perpetrated in Aldie in the early hours of Saturday, July 29.

We are pleased that the Sheriff’s department is investigating this incident as what it is, a hate crime and act of terrorism. The amount of damage done and the use of an accelerant suggests that this attack was planned, involved several people, and that the intent went beyond simple vandalism to arson, and possibly attempted murder. The residents were at home asleep, along with visiting family members including a 9-year-old niece. We can all be thankful that none of them was physically harmed.

This obviously is not the kind of behavior that any of us wants to see in this community. Unfortunately, it is the kind of behavior that we have seen escalate in other parts of the country when the community is engaged in debate over a controversial issue. Violence and vandalism perpetrated against the gay community has escalated to the level of arson and murder during similar campaigns to restrict the rights of gay citizens.

I had hoped that we would not see this kind of development in the course of public debate over the proposed constitutional amendment, but now I fear the pattern we have seen elsewhere is going to be repeated. Regardless of your individual policy positions with regard to the Virginia amendment, or your personal feelings about the gay community, I expect that each of you will swiftly, publicly and in no uncertain terms condemn this vicious act.

Thank you for your service and please don’t hesitate to contact me for further information.

David Weintraub, President, Equality Loudoun

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