Burn a U.S. flag and you can call it an artistic statement or an act of courage. Burn a rainbow LGBT flag, and be unrepentant about it, and it’s prison.
Now a man has been sentenced to 15 years for burning an LGBTQ banner that was displayed at a church in Ames, Iowa.
Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, was sentenced last week to 15 years for arson and a hate crime.
He was also given a year for reckless use of explosives or fire and 30 days for “harassment.” The sentences are to be served consecutively, according to Story County court records.
He was found guilty of a hate crime, which is a class D felony, third-degree harassment, and reckless use of fire last month.
Police allege he stole the flag that hung at Ames United Church of Christ at 217 6th St. It was found burning on June 11 outside Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club, 111 5th St, the Des Moines Register reported.
Martinez told police he had pulled the flag down and had set it ablaze with lighter fluid as a protest against homosexuality.
Martinez also did a confused interview with KCCI Des Moines in November in which he said he was guilty of the charges, stating, “It is my honor, it is written, it is a judgement and it is written to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishments upon the people.
“It is my honor to do so, and it is an honor to that. It is a blessing from the Lord, plain and simple.
“It was an honor to do that, it’s a blessing from the Lord to be able to stand for his word firmly against all odds plain and simple.
“I wish no harm upon any individual however if you guys are going to bring and forth and address it in such a manner than by all means necessary bring it forth bro, I have God on my side.’
He admitted to a reporter that the incident was about homosexuality and claimed he had no regrets.