A homophobe has been jailed for 16 years for stealing and burning a Church’s LGBTQ pride flag. Adolfo Martinez, 30, was sent to jail in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, over the incident at Ames United Church on June 11. He snatched the banner from outside the place of worship – whose pastor Eileen Gebbie is hereself gay – then torched it outside a lapdancing club called Dangerous Curves.
He was handed the lengthy sentence after being convicted of a felony hate crime, third-degree harassment, and reckless use of fire. Adolfo was totally unrepentant about his behavior when interviewed by TV station KCCI in June, claiming his hate was God’s work.
He said: ‘It’s my honor. It is written. It is a judgment and it’s written to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishments on the people. ‘It’s my honor to do so.
It was an honor to do that. It’s a blessing from the Lord.’ Asked if he was specifically targeting people because of their homosexuality. Martinez added: ‘Yes, yes, yes. Exactly. ‘I burned down their pride, plain and simple…I’m guilty as charged.’ Prosecutor Jessica Reynolds said Martinez had been charged with a hate crime because he was motivated by others ‘sexual orientation.’
Pastor Gebbie hailed a jury’s decision to convict Martinez last month, telling the Des Moines Register: ‘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.
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.’