Monday, July 21, 2008

Apparently we're not safe in this city.

Twice within the past week, Robert Stotler and his partner have been targets of anti-gay messages at their Tulsa home.

About seven days ago, the message "Gays Must Go" was spray-painted on their garage door, and a symbol resembling a swastika, which is used by some white supremacist groups, was spray-painted on the side of their home.

Holes were punched in a friend's pickup's tires and the truck was set on fire while parked in Stotler's driveway.

The message "I'll be back" was spray-painted on both sides of the vehicle.

And back the person came.

A few days later, holes were punched in the front door of their home in the 11800 block of East 25th Street, and the message "Gay Go Away" was painted on it.

This is happening here, now, in Tulsa, to a couple who are doing nothing more than trying to live normal lives. I had no idea that this kind of thing was happening in this city. My partner and I keep a fairly low profile, but we don't hide who we are by any stretch of the imagination.

The startling point of this article is that these crimes are not classified as hate crimes by the Tulsa Police or by Oklahoma law. Oklahoma is one of 17 states that refuses to add sexual orientation protection to our hate crimes laws.

Call your state legislator, your mayor, call Governor Henry, and demand that sexual orientation become a protected status in Oklahoma.

The gay community has no "agenda." All we want is to live our lives in peace, and to have the same rights that the heterosexual community takes for granted. Is that really so much to ask?