American man sentenced to 16 years in prison after setting pride flag on fire

A man from the American state of Iowa has been sentenced to 16 years in prison, after he took a pride flag down from a church and set it on fire. To local media, he expressed that it was “an honour” for him to burn the flag.
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Past June, The 30-year old Adolfo Martinez from the city of Ames was kicked out of a strip club. After that happened, he walked to the church and grabbed the pride banner that was hanging on the facade. When he got back to the strip club, he set the banner on fire. Eventually, he was arrested by the police. Martinez got fifteen years jailtime for arson as a hate crime, one year for reckless use of fire and thirty days for harassment.

To a local TV station, Martinez expressed how proud he was of his actions. “It is my honour to do so, and it is an honour to that. It is a blessing from the Lord, plain and simple,” he stated. Continuing: “I wish no harm upon any individual however if you guys are going to bring and forth and address it in such a manner than by all means necessary bring it forth bro, I have God on my side.”

Pastor Eileen Gebbie, openly gay herself, agrees with the charges. She claims Ames has a large closeted queer community. In a letter to her congregation, she writes: “It was a sad morning, as our neighbour restated his hateful feelings about LGBTQIA+ people in the name of God. It was also unsettling for me, personally, as he spoke directly to me during the hearing and as he left the court room.” Since the incident, the pride flag has been replaced with a new one.


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