KFOR reports that, earlier this month, former county commissioner Jim Roth—one of the first openly gay politicians in Oklahoma—was assaulted by three men after leaving Grandad’s, a local gay bar in Oklahoma City. According to Roth, one of the men used anti-gay slurs during the attack that left him with minor “scrapes and bruises.”
The attack is one of many that reflects a growing trend in Oklahoma City as marriage equality becomes a major issue nationwide. Though Roth and others are positive the assailant’s motive was fueled by homophobia, Scott Hamilton of the Cimarron Alliance says hate crimes in the area are often overlooked because they’re unequipped.
“As minorities gain rights, there can be an increase in violence and sadly we’re seeing that in Oklahoma City,” Hamilton said.
In a message posted to Grandad’s Facebook page, the owner is already calling for an end to the rise in local hate crimes:
“We will not tolerate bigotry and hate. You don’t have to love everyone who walks in the door like we do but you do have to tolerate them. Gay, straight, black, white, plumber, politician, whatever… let’s just all have a drink and be cool.”
No arrests have been made, so how long will it take the Oklahoma City Police Department be “equipped” and competent enough to handle hate crimes?