Thursday, November 17, 2005

one more reason i'll never move to alabama

On October 19, 2005, Billy Sanford, a 52-year-old gay man in Montgomery, Alabama, was bludgeoned into a coma by a 26-year-old claiming 'gay panic'.

Marcus Dewayne Kelley, a handyman for Sanford and his roommate, told Montgomery detectives he hit Sanford in the head with a hammer because the older man wouldn’t stop making sexual advances toward him.

Not only is this most likely not true (the man had a "roommate," and has been described as "a sweet spirit, a gentle, non-violent soul"), it's sickening that this guy is actually using his fear of gay people as a defense.

Sanford's prognosis is not good. Doctors don't really have much hope for his survival, and even if he does, there will be significant brain damage.

And I know this makes me sound awful, but it's times like these that I'm glad I'm a straight-looking dyke in Massachusetts and/or Western New York. If I were a gay man in these parts, or any kind of queer living below the Mason-Dixon line...I don't even want to think about what I'd have to deal with.

This guy, Kelley, wasn't brought in until very recently. That's a month after the attack happened.
And they're not even charging it as a hate crime, which everyone in their right mind knows it was, because Alabama doesn't include sexual orientation in their hate crime statute. It's attempted murder, period. Which isn't exactly like they're letting him off, but still.

Howard Bayless of Equality Alabama cuts straight to the core:

“If it were a straight person who hit on someone of the opposite sex, he would have gotten a ‘No, thank you,’ and that would have been the end of it.

We don’t get a polite ‘No, thank you.’ We get clubbed with a hammer,” Bayless continued. “I hope the district attorney prosecutes this to the highest degree.”

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