An Iowa man who was arrested after tearing down and burning an LGBTQ flag that was hanging at a church will spend at least 15 years behind bars, according to reports.
Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, was sentenced 15 years for the “hate crime of arson,” a year for “reckless use of explosives or fire,” and 30 days for “harassment” Wednesday.
“He is very much opposed to our support of queer people,” said Church of Christ’s pastor Eileen Gebbie after Martinez’s arrest in June. “[Martinez’s actions & words] reveal the depth of homo-, trans-, and queerphobia in our ‘Iowa nice’ community.”
After a Story County jury convicted Martinez guilty of a hate crime in November, Gebbie – who’s also a member of the LGBTQ community herself – said the experience ‘changed her opinion of Ames for the better.’
“I often experienced Ames as not being as progressive as many people believe it is, and there still is a very large closeted queer community here,” said Gebbie. “But 12 people that I don’t know, who have no investment in me or this congregation, said this man committed a crime, and it was crime borne of bigotry and hatred.”
The “hate crime” charges were added because Martinez targeted the flag for “what it represents as far as sexual orientation,” said Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds.
The jury had also convicted Martinez guilty of third-degree harassment and of being a habitual offender.
Martinez was arrested shortly after stealing the flag and using lighter fluid with a lighter to burn it outside of “Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club” on June 11.
Well that’s over the top…
Odd the repetitive use of the word queer
It’s shit like this that’s gonna bring this situation to a head.
Why isn’t burning the U.S. flag a crime such as"hateful arson" but protected as free speech and a man burning the ■■■ Flag will have an all inclusive 30yr stay in prison???
Yet you can burn the American flag and its free speech.
These people can have pedophile shows with children in public libraries and are celebrated for it by the media and seemingly the govt. Yet a man burns the ■■■ flag, and for that its 16 years in prison. This is anarcho-tyranny.
So people deserve jail time for calling queers queer?
Is that what you’re telling me?
The LGBTQ flag is a POLITICAL symbol. I severely hope this is overturned, as 16 years prison for flag-burning cannot be allowed and the people promoting this type of thing are inevitably going to be treated in accordance with their actions. This is worse than any excess of totalitarian communist (or other) regimes.
He would have gotten a softer sentence if he lit an actual ■■■■■■ on fire.
geh … the UCC strikes again.
The Churches of Christ not UCC have to deal with them using the name … like having to always apologize for a infamous criminal cousin.
Yep, “poofters, lunatics and women in comfortable shoes” is more inclusive.
(thank Robin Williams for the last)
Um…no. I see you didn’t read the op. The pastor is referring to them such…
Congratulations, Iowa now has sentencing that’s in the same ballpark as that of North Korea. And that’s not hyperbolic. Otto Warmbier received a 15 year sentence for stealing a flag.
Guaranteed - Trump won’t pardon this man, but took time out of his super busy schedule to pardon this full blown criminal
The President can only pardon federal criminals. It’s up to the Iowa state governor to pardon this man. The President can’t interfere.
When did hate stop being an emotion and become a crime?
When our lawmakers put laws on the books.
Hmmm? Free speech for me but not for thee!
Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, was found guilty last month of third-degree arson in violation of individual rights — hate crime, third-degree harassment, and reckless use of fire as a habitual offender.
He was arrested after stealing a pride banner hanging at Ames United Church of Christ, 217 6th St., and burning it early June 11 outside Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club, 111 5th St., police said.
Can anyone in their right mind think 15 years in prison is a fair sentence for burning a flag ?
What exactly makes this flag so dam special ? What happens when illegals an American flag while squatting in the USA ? Have lawmakers lost their minds by making gays so important that sentencing needs to be 15 times more for them ?
I agree with your views… it makes no sense but as to uphold the idea that the freedom of speech is really only to defend the liberals… to many times the conservative side of arguments our ignored and are freedom of speech limited because we are deemed racist, not politically correct, bigots, offensive and motivated by intolerance.
That’s because as a group we have become too quiet and too meek. Because we weren’t raised like animals we tried to be respectful and have manners when dealing with other people. Our biggest problem is we haven’t collectively realized yet that the people we are dealing with don’t care about respect or manners. They only care about results. They will do anything and everything to get the results that they want, including destroying the country. All of us need to adjust our tactics.