An Iowa man on Wednesday was sentenced
to 15 years in prison for burning a rainbow Pride flag displayed at a
During his trial in November, Adolfo
Martinez, 30, of Ames, said that he tore down the flag and burned it
because he's opposed to homosexuality.
The rainbow Pride flag, a symbol of the
LGBT rights movement, was hanging from the United Church of Christ in
Ames. The incident happened in June, LGBT Pride Month.
Martinez was also given a year for
reckless use of explosives or fire and 30 days for harassment,
putting Martinez away for 16 years, NBC
Prosecutors had called for a lengthier
sentence due to Martinez being a “habitual offender.”
Courtney Reyes, executive director of
One Iowa, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate, disagreed with
the lengthy sentence.
“Hate crimes against the LGBTQ
community are a serious matter as they inflict distinct emotional
harms on their victims, and strike fear into the communities they
target," Reyes said in a statement given to NBC News. "That
said, true justice should always strive to be about rehabilitation,
reconciliation, and healing communities. It is difficult to see how a
16-year prison sentence accomplishes any of those goals."