Imagine what it'd be like every time you get into your car, having to see the despicable antigay slur "fag" or "faggot" carved into your car door, and to know everyone can see it wherever you drive. This is the new reality for a lesbian couple who discovered their new car had been vandalized last week, according to Portland, Ore., TV station KATU.This right here is very important, we may not like it but,,,
Jenna Dougherty told the station this is the third time someone has targeted the couple's new Subaru Forester, first with scratches, then with hate speech. "It's hard to feel safe and comfortable being here when people are doing this to your stuff," she said. Making matters worse, the alleged vandalism occurred right outside the couple's apartment in the Portland suburb of Gresham.
"I was really upset, and I knew my wife was gonna be really upset, because that in my opinion's the most offensive word that you can call somebody that's gay," Dougherty told the station. "I got on the phone with the police as soon as we saw it. They came out here and took pictures."
However, Officer Malaka Kerbs, a spokeswoman for the Gresham Police Department, told the station that this is nothing more than a criminal mischief case, because officers don't consider the f word enough evidence to call it a hate crime.
According to KATU, this isn't the first time hate has cropped up in Gresham. The station asked Kerbs about Ku Klux Klan recruitment fliers found in another area neighborhood in November.It is also an issue that "helped" Marjorie Silva and Azucar's Bakery.
Kerbs said police don't consider that a hate crime either, because the fliers weren't threatening anyone in particular.
"Was there some offensive language in the flier? Yes," Kerbs said. "But that's still part of freedom of speech."
Vandals Key Oregon Lesbians' Car With Antigay Slur, But Cops Say It's Not a Hate Crime | Advocate.comWhat one has to understand, no matter how despicable Jack's request was - "God Hates Fags" - it is protected by the First Amendment. "We" may call it hate speech, but the courts look at it more as "speech that is hateful" so long as it DOES NOT promote imminent violence, or as the court termed "fighting words" (cf. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 572, 1942). More recent, in Synder v Phelps (2011), "Speech deals with matters of public concern when it can 'be fairly considered as relating to any matter of political, social, or other concern to the community' or when it 'is a subject of general interest and of value and concern to the public."
So in this incident, if we were focus only on what Jack wanted printed, we have a balancing act between yelling "fire in a theatre and causing a panic" (Schenck v. United States, 1919) versus "speech that is hateful" but not causing imminent harm.