Vandalism investigated as hate crime

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(Host) Burlington police say vandalism to the RU12 Community Center is being investigated as a hate crime against gays and lesbians.

Employees arrived at the center this morning to find that bricks had been thrown through a front glass door and a back window.

The Executive Director of the center, Kara DeLeonardis says it’s a reminder that discrimination and homophobia still exist in Vermont.

The vandalism occurred just three days before the group’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and just as a Gender Identity Non-discrimination bill has been sent to Governor Jim Douglas’s office for his signature.

Hinesburg Democrat Bill Lippert chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Lippert is a prominent gay politician, and he says the attack on the community center is unfortunately not unusual.

(Lippert) “Because there is a history of experience of being physically and verbally attacked for many people over a good portion of their lives. What we can be proud of in Vermont is that we have regularly and progressively built increasing legal protections and recognition for members of the gay, lesbian bisexual and trans-gendered communities. And that ultimately is the triumph that our community deserves and that Vermont ultimately does provide.”

(Host) Governor Jim Douglas also condemned the vandalism at his weekly news conference.

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