Like the right to not have your home burned to the ground just because you’re gay.
Carol 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.
Fortunately, no one was home at the time.
The couple, who have been together for more than 16 years, were in Nashville celebrating the five-year anniversary of moving into their Vonore home, the night it was burned to the ground.
Carol Stutte’s daughter from a previous marriage would have been at the home at the time, but decided to go with the couple to Nashville.
“She would’ve been trapped,” Carol Stutte said.
They have apparently been getting threats and harassment since they moved in five years ago, and from one neighbor in particular. Coincidentally, they finally reported it to the Sheriff’s office just a couple of weeks ago, after the most recent threats.
Carol Stutte said she and Laura have been being harassed and threatened, specifically by one neighbor, on and off for about five years.
“We tried to turn the other cheek and overlook it,” Carol Stutte said. “When (the latest threats) finally happened we thought we better go file a police report. (The threats) have really been scaring us for some time.”
The couple tried to ignore the threats, but eventually decided to file a report with the Sheriff’s Office.
“The last in-depth threats were several weeks ago,” Carol Stutte said.
There are reasons many gays who are “out” don’t actually tell people unless they’re asked, or only tell certain people they feel they can trust. Stories like this are one of those reasons. Even with today’s growing tolerance of homosexuality, unless you know someone, you don’t know if they’ll react violently. Sometimes, even if you know someone you can be surprised. Being out is still dangerous.
Here’s some food for thought.
Becky Lucas, president of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Maryville, said she is outraged by the Vonore arson.
“We are hopeful that the authorities will investigate it fully and that this couple will get justice,” she said Friday. “I think this happens every day to people in this community and many times they don’t speak up because they are afraid. Everybody deserves basic human rights.”
Think about that statement. Notice the part I put in bold. What does it say about the way gays are treated when someone has to express hope that a blatant crime will be fully investigated and the criminal punished? What does it say about the way the community treats gays that there is doubt a criminal investigation will be pursued fully?
Gays just want to be left alone, and treated the same as everybody else. There’s nothing “special” about that.