A straight family in Charleston, South Carolina, had their rainbow pride flag torn down from the front of their house and burned in their driveway last weekend.
“We were taken aback and thought, ‘Wow, somebody must be really bothered by this to go to this end here to do this.’ But we called the police to let them know about it,” the homeowner, who lives with his wife and three young children, told NBC News.
“There’s people on our street that have South Carolina flags, United States flags, different college flags, garden flags … obviously the rainbow is what attracted them to ours,” the homeowner, who asked that his name not be printed to protect his family’s safety and privacy, added. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who did this didn’t even know who we were or who lived in the home, that it was just the fact that it was a rainbow flag, and they didn’t agree with that.”
A local LGBT group, the Alliance for Full Acceptance, in return has offered free rainbow PRIDE flags to any residents or businesses in the city seeking to “display a flag in solidarity with the affected family and LGBT community.”
“So far, we’ve had 200 requests for flags,” the group’s executive director, Chase Glenn, said. “It’s really incredible to see the community rally around these folks and the LGBT community as a whole.”
Charles Francis, a spokesperson with the Charleston Police Department, said the investigation is ongoing, and no suspects have yet been identified.
If investigators conclude the incident is a hate crime, any suspects could be charged under Charleston’s new hate crime ordinance, which was passed in November of last year.