Alex Blaze

Lesbians' home burned to the ground

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 13, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: California, Tennessee

A lesbian couple's home was burned down in Tennessee:

queers-spray-paineted.jpgCarol Ann Stutte and her partner, Laura Stutte, are afraid to return alone to what is left of their Vonore home in Monroe County.

After being victims of an arson and having the word "queers" spray painted on their garage, the lesbian couple is fearful for their safety.

"We would love to stay (in the area)," Carol Stutte said Friday. "But we will never, never rebuild (on that property) again. I take someone with me constantly -- one or two people to make sure I'm OK while I'm up there."

Detective Travis Jones, with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, said authorities aren't releasing many details about the fire -- which happened Sept. 4 at about 10 p.m.

"It is an arson and we are continuing the investigation," he said Friday. "There are people of interest in the case," and authorities, including the state Bomb and Arson Squad, are still conducting interviews.

The Stuttes' home was a complete loss. "There is nothing left," Carol Stutte said. "They are calling it a black hole."

A gay bar was burned down in Fresno this weekend, although police aren't saying it was arson just yet, but they do believe that the fire started outside:

thedenbar.jpgA fire early Sunday morning caused an estimated $130,000 in damage at a business in southeast Fresno.

Fresno Fire Department officials said crews arrived at The Den Bar in the 4500 block of East Belmont Avenue to find a fire on the exterior of the building along a wooden fence line. Within minutes, the fire spread into the attic of the commercial structure.

The fire damaged a storage area and the bar's interior. The bar was closed at the time, and a neighbor reported the fire.

No one was hurt. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Is it just me, or has there been more anti-queer violence over the last few months than there was before?

All I'm going to say is that neither of these fires would have been prevented with same-sex marriage, ENDA, hate crimes legislation, or any other major, federal legislation. It's going to take cultural work and education.

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Paige Listerud | September 13, 2010 8:30 PM

Not to be a cynic. BUT. I think further cultural work and education will help the next generation of kids not to engage in this kind of behavior. The only thing that will help the person/people who did this is prison. Sorry if that sounds right wing--it's not. Let those who committed this hate crime get their LGBTQ education while they serve time.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said it best about scts like this stuff and the law.
"It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."
Martin Luther King Jr.

King was also a member of the Council on Human Relations, a group that worked exclusively on educating people about integration. He saw the need for both cultural and legal change.

I hope they throw the book at whoever torched their home. No one should have to endure that. Why didn't they just leave a flaming cross in the front yard while they were at it?

Was the couple at home when it happened?

Regards the fire at the Den in Fresno, there were a series of fires overnight (Monday) in the same general area of Fresno reported on this morning's news. So it might be that this was not specifically an anti-gay crime - although it DOES follow the pattern of the fires that gutted two other gay bars almost exactly five years ago...