News (USA)

Lesbian couple victims of arson, gay slurs in suspected hate crime

Lesbian couple victims of arson, gay slurs in suspected hate crime
Image: WATE-TV

A lesbian couple in Tennessee are afraid to return to the charred remains of their home after it was burned to the ground last week and the word “Queers” was spray painted on the side of their garage in what is being investigated as a potential hate crime.

Carol Ann Stutte and her partner, Laura Stutte, are afraid to return alone to what is left of their Vonore home in Monroe County. [Maryville Daily Times]

“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.”

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 said she and Laura have been being harassed and threatened, specifically by one neighbor, on and off for about five years.

She also said recently the neighbor threatened to kill them and burn down their house, Stutte said. “I knew we had been threatened, but we never thought anything would be followed through.” [WATE-TV]

The couple says they have no plans to return to the property.

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