Yesterday, I received this 13-page diatribe from some right-wing religious fanatic in Canoga Park, CA. In barely-literate scrawl which I imagine is typical of letters of this nature, he warned me that if I continue to marry same-sex couples, I could receive possible punishments of “cancer, sickness, uneasiness, depress, out of control, always angry, car accidents, physical injury, loss income, law suits, bad health, always in danger, family deaths, and worst, your future death.”
These were photocopied forms, with blanks throughout the pages for my name and my city. This tells me that he is sending this love packet to many officiants. I’m now listed on five LGBT-oriented wedding resource web sites, including GayWeddings.com, which is a subsidiary domain of WeddingWire.com. Of course, he could have just found me using a search engine. I have no way of knowing how he found me, but it doesn’t really matter.
At first, I laughed this off, and mused on Facebook, “How kind of him to spend time writing my name and city into blanks on photocopied forms and spend almost $1.50 in postage to rescue me!”
More than one of my friends encouraged me to file a police report. I initially thought that was overkill, but there are three passages in this letter, including the one quoted above, that could be considered veiled death threats. And while the context is that “God Yahweh” will be the one to inflict said harm, in other parts of the letter, he refers to himself as a servant and messenger of “God Yahweh.”
It’s clear from the rantings of this guy that he’s fanatical and rather untethered from reality. But it’s the crazy ones you have to watch out for. After all, people murdered doctors who provide abortions and felt justified in doing so because they felt they were doing God’s work.
It seems unlikely that this guy would travel to Phoenix from Canoga Park, California to try to shoot me, but you never know. And since the fill-in-the-blank photocopies suggest that he’s sending this to other officiants as well also decreases my odds.
It’s at least 99% probable that nothing of any substance will come of this.
Still, today I filed a police report. The officer skimmed over this work (I had highlighted the passages of concern) and took down some information. He said if anything ever does happen, this will provide some sort of trail – and that’s why I did it.
I also contacted WeddingWire and suggested that they send an email to all their LGBT-friendly officiants on GayWeddings.com advising them to file police reports should they receive this letter.
It was interesting that the return address he provided on the envelope is the address of a company that produces pornographic videos. Since he also rails against porn in this missive, it’s unlikely that he actually works there. The name he used on the envelope is almost certainly a fake name. A search on the name turned up no results anywhere, and it’s different from the name he used to sign the letter (which was a first name only). All this raised my level of concern. Based on this information, there’s little the police or the post office can do to track the letter back to its source.
This entire episode casts a bit of a shadow on all the progress we have recently made for marriage equality. Even though same-sex marriage is now legal in many states and will almost certainly become the law of the land in June, that won’t be the end of the battle. Over the past couple years, opinion polls have shifted to where the majority of the American population now supports equal marriage. But it will take a long time before equality opponents give up the fight. Until then, we’ll probably see more and more acts of desperation such as this. Hopefully nobody will have to die in the battle for equality.
©2015 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.
Photo credit: Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.