Does burning a rainbow Pride flag constitute 15 years behind bars? It does now concerning one Iowa man.
According to CNN, Adolfo Martinez was found guilty on Wednesday of tearing down and burning a Pride flag flying at the Ames United Church of Christ. According to Martinez himself, he committed the action this June because he didn’t believe a church should support LGBTQ people.
“It was an honor to do that,” Martinez told KCCI. “It’s a blessing from the Lord to be able to stand for his world firmly, against all odds.”
But as happy as some are about Martinez receiving justice for the act. Many are saying his punishment was too harsh. Martinez has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the charges of 3rd-degree violation of individual rights, 3rd-degree harassment and reckless use of fire or explosives.
“Hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are a serious matter as they inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and strike fear into the communities they target,” Courtney Reyes, the executive director of One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ organization, said. “That said, true justice should always strive to be about rehabilitation, reconciliation, and healing communities.”
That said, Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds says that there was more going on with this punishment and sentencing. She, in fact, recommended the maximum sentence because Martinez has a long history of harassment and was charged as a habitual offender.
So while some may not believe 15 years is worthy of the offense, others believe it wasn’t long enough (given other aspects of the offender). Either way, a man is going behind bars and he’ll be there for a while.