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Gay Activists Fear Homophobia Behind 2 Arson Attacks


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Gay Activists Fear Homophobia Behind 2 Arson Attacks

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: October 6, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(Fresno, California) Fires in two gay nightclubs in Fresno may have been attacks on the LGBT community California's largest gay rights group says.

The most recent fire occurred at The Dance, formerly the Fresno Express, on N. Maroa. The club had been closed for several months but the blaze caused $20,000 damage.

On Sept. 26 fire broke out at the site of North Tower Circle, a few blocks away. That fire resulted in damage estimated at $375,000.

Both fires are being probed by arson investigators.

"Acts of violence against LGBT people or our property will not be tolerated," said Field Director Molly McKay of Equality California.

McKay said that recent anti-gay rallies in Fresno have fostered an environment that places thousands of families and children at risk.

"Today was an opportunity to create more dialogue with our community and local officials. We call on our elected officials in the area to join us to talk about equality for all Californians."

At a news conference that was attended by Fresno Deputy Fire Marshal Don Macalpine and Police District Commander Dennis Bridges Equality California appealed for anyone who might have knowledge about the fires to come forward.

"We ask anyone who may have information about these incidents to come forward and work with public officials in identifying the perpetrators and preventing violence against our community in the future," said McKay.

Over the past 12 months there have been a series of arson attacks against gays and lesbians nationwide. In August a New York-based organization that tracks violence against members of the LGBT community called for a federal investigation into 4 of the arson attacks. (story)

In Florida, police are continuing to search for the person who torched the home of a gay couple after spray painting "Die Fag" on the front steps. (story) Days earlier a gay club in Brownsville, Texas was been gutted by fire. (story) The week before, arson destroyed the only gay club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (story) On July 9, fire damaged a gay-positive church in Middlebrook, Virginia. Police said the arsonist had scrawled a message on the exterior of St. John's Reformed United Church of Christ saying that UCC members were sinners.

©365Gay.com 2005


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