Two Texas-based gay men are fearing for their safety after finding a homophobic death threat spraypainted on their home.
Pronews7 reports that Joshua Harrison and Jeremy Jeffers, who have been together for about a year, awoke Oct. 1 to find "Leave or Die Fags" painted on their front porch. "I'm absolutely terrified because if there are people in this town that are willing to go to the lengths to vandalize our house and to scare us, they they might be going the lengths to do physical harm on us," Harrison told the news station.
Local officials, including the sheriff, have reportedly said they are treating the threatening graffiti as a hate crime. As a number of media outlets including the Dallas Voice are noting, the vandalism comes after what has been deemed an anti-gay advertisement, taken out by a local pastor, appeared in an area newspaper.
"Folks, don’t be fooled, the ‘gay’ agenda isn’t about ‘equal’ rights for gay couples,” the "Homosexual Movement" clip, taken out by Clarendon Church of Christ Pastor Chris Moore, reads. "Their agenda would force everyone to compromise their values, make our children legal prey for pedophiles.”
EDGE on the Net reports that Moore has since defended the ad. "What I wrote was facts and if I wrote something that wasn’t factual -- I would gladly fix it," he said. Still, he dismissed the suggestion that the ad was somehow linked to the vandalism on Harrison and Jeffers' home, adding, "I don’t condone that type of behavior. It is un-Christian to vandalize or be violent to anybody."
Texas LGBT rights advocates have come to the couple's defense. "Joshua Harrison and Jeremy Jeffers should not have to live in fear in their own home simply because of their sexual orientation," officials for Equality Texas noted in a statement, as cited by the Dallas Voice. "No Texan should ever have to live in fear of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression."
As for Moore, Equality Texas officials noted while the pastor was "entitled to his own beliefs," it was "a fact that when people teach or preach homophobia and anti-gay rhetoric, it can inflame people to the point of violence."