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Tenn. Lesbian Couple’s Home Torched

Jim Burroway

September 12th, 2010

The home of Carol and Laura Stutte in Vonore, Tennessee was destroyed by a fire on Saturday, Sept 4, that investigators are now calling an act of arson. The couple had been harassed and threatened by one of their neighbors for the entire five years that they had lived in the home. An anti-gay slur was spray painted on their garage.

The fire occurred while the couple was away in Nashville with a neighbor, celebrating their fifth anniversary of moving into the home from Oklahoma. Carol’s adult daughter from a previous marriage were also with them in Nashville. Carol says that her partner is too afraid to come back to the property since the fire. The home and everything in it was a total loss.

Carol says that, despite the arson, she has been very appreciative of the support from people in the area who have offered to help. The Maryville chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is taking donations of clothing and money for the Stutte family. They can be reached at 865-368-6665.

Comments

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Emily K
September 12th, 2010 | LINK

Any time people think that lesbians have it “easier” because people enjoy turning us into sex objects rather than beating us senseless for expressing our sexuality (as with gay men), remember this sad event.

Tone
September 12th, 2010 | LINK

What a cowardly attack.

Titus
September 12th, 2010 | LINK

Donations can be made using PayPal here:

http://knoxvillepridefest.com/2010/09/11/carol-ann-and-laura-stutte-fund-update/

Emily K
September 12th, 2010 | LINK

i donated a couple bucks.. i can’t afford much.. but i figure a couple bucks more can only help, not hurt..

Christopher
September 13th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve made a donation. And it depresses me that this sort of thing happens. I don’t know if all their neighbors, other than the outspoken one, were necessarily tolerant, but at least they do have some supportive neighbors.

I can certainly understand not wanting to go back to their home as well.

rebecca lucas
September 13th, 2010 | LINK

For more information and updates on this story visit the link posted below.

We can help by writing letters to the editor, calling legislators, and sharing this story.

http://sites.google.com/a/pflagmaryville.org/www/vonore-couple-needs-our-help

Robert Ray
September 13th, 2010 | LINK

I am outraged at this draconian act of aggression. How could this be tolerated? How could it be overlooked? Have arrest warrants been issued to take the aggressors into custody?

If Tennessee authorities fail to pursue this issue and fail to bring the guilty parties into court for serious violation of property and of human rights, it should end with a large number of lesbians and gay men moving to Tennessee to compensate and desensitize the state from it’s small minded understanding of how valuable gay men and women are in a community. We are the salt of the earth, we are of value, and we are important to social balance and evolution. We are here, and we are NOT GOING AWAY!

customartist
September 13th, 2010 | LINK

We will always be hated and need to use caution in every aspect of daily life. I have multiple surveillance cameras around my home for just such incidents.

The Police need to investigate directly with the neighbor who did the harrassing. What is HIS name and address, hmmm?

Was this a rented house or did they own it? It should be turned in to a shrine of hate for the neighborhood to have to live with in perpetuety.

TonyJazz
September 13th, 2010 | LINK

I just visited a small town in Kentucky, where I went to High School. This return visit just re-emphasized why I left there in the first place.

Too racist and too intolerant. (Can anyone tell me a non-racist reason to have a confederate flag on a truck or teeshirt?—as if there were one…)

I feel badly for those who are trapped in such situations, though I know there are others who do quite well in rural America….

Robert Ray
September 13th, 2010 | LINK

Flying a confederate flag should be a good reminder as to the north prevailed and the south lost. Righteousness always wins in the end, and it sure did in the Civil War. To hell with Confederate sympathizers. Amen!

Tim Thomas
September 14th, 2010 | LINK

Whats amazing to me.. I’m from the area..Vonore to be exact.. And I’ve looked at the Monroe county paper and there is no mention of the fire or a hate crime in its recent news stories.. There is a place to start writing and asking questions.. if the local paper won’t cover it.. Then it will be swept under the rug.. the paper is known as the monroe county democrat advocate.

Kristie
September 14th, 2010 | LINK

Tim, the local paper may not be covering it, but looks like it is getting some play on local news websites. Since more people in the US now get their news from the internet, more people probably read these articles than would have read any in the local paper.

http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?S=13134384

http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=134071

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/sep/14/lesbian-couple-faced-hostility/

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