Christopher Jones and Terry Geasland, a gay couple living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have gone public with stories of harassment by their neighbor, Jon Bailey. Bailey, who lives across the street, has put up signs with homophobic epitaphs and desecrated a Pride Flag in response to the couple.
Local station KJRH reports that Baily put up the signs to promote a “Christian” lifestyle.
“I believe that homosexuality is wrong,” Bailey told KJRH. “I’m not putting them [gay people] down, I’m just standing up to them and saying this is wrong. I’m trying to show them there is a better way.”
Needless to say, Jones and Geasland–one of three gay couples living on the block–have a different perspective on the situation.
“That’s hate,” Jones says. “We do not need this in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s like wow, in your face. It’s very ugly. It’s demeaning and it’s a violation of humility towards my family.”
Other neighbors expressed a similar sentiment. “I have lived in this neighborhood for 17 years,” neighbor Cindy Roberts said. “I have never seen anything this awful. It disgusts me. I’m upset!”
Jones and Geasland notified law enforcement of the situation. However, police say there’s nothing they can do to order Bailey to remove the signs, citing free speech laws.
“I know my rights,” Bailey told KJRH. “The gay and lesbian community are bullying people into being quiet and to being silent, and they are making people like me that are standing up against them feel like criminals.” He also took to Facebook to promote his cause and his appearance on television.
“Calling on All prayer warriors,” he wrote. “I have an interview today at 3 pm with at least 1 news channel. The subject is homosexuality and why I’m against it and what I’ve done out of love for my homosexual neighbors. Please pray that the holy spirit fills me with the correct words to say. Thank u everyone!”
Bailey’s newfound fame has also invited a backlash. As the proprietor of a construction contracting service, he began to receive negative reviews on Facebook, with posters citing his homophobia in their remarks. Bailey also invited harsh criticism from Toby Jenkins, director of Tulsa’s LGBTQ community center.
“Talk like this is just a step away from violence and people need to understand that members of the LGBTQ community are susceptible to being attacked, assaulted, and in some cases killed, it stems from comments like these that come from people’s hearts,” Jenkins said.