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Feds Leave Cross Burning At Gay Home To Tennessee To Solve


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Feds Leave Cross Burning At Gay Home To Tennessee To Solve

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

July 22, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Athens, Tennessee) The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been called in to help solve a cross-burning at the home of a gay man three weeks ago.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation briefly checked into the case but left after determining the attack was homophobic. Gays are not protected under hate crime laws.

This week Meigs County Sheriff Walter Hickman asked the TBI to become involved since hate crimes against gays are included in the Tennessee.

District Attorney General Scott McCluen considers the June 29th attack to be hate crime.

Under the state law if the person or persons involved in the cross burning are convicted a judge could enhance the sentences.

Sheriff Hickman said there are no suspects in the attack which took place earlier this month. (story)

The flaming cross was discovered by Brandon Waters on the front lawn of the home he shares with his partner and mother.

Waters said that the cross was about 7 feet tall and a hate message bearing homophobic epithets was found nearby.

Hickman called in the FBI shortly after the attack. Federal investigators interviewed Hickman and examined evidence but said that even if the people responsible are caught they cannot be prosecuted under federal law. (story)

Legislation that would have included crimes against gays and lesbians in federal hate crime laws was dropped in the Senate in May. (story)

A House version of the hate crime bill passed the House earlier this year.

The bill would have allowed the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting cases in which violence occurs.

Extending hate crimes law to include members of the LGBT community is endorsed by more than 175 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including: the National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

©365Gay.com 2006

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