ARCANUM — A hateful message has turned into a bigger message of love for an Arcanum couple after a homophobic slur was burned into their front yard last week.
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“Regardless of how much hate there was in this one single act, something good is going to come out of it and love always wins in the end,” Bradley O’Dell said.
O’Dell and his fiancé, Mike Stone, have lived in their Arcanum home for a little more than a year.
“I grew up in this town, O’Dell said. “I moved back for a reason and that’s because I know this community as a whole is great.”
But on May 22nd, someone sent a hate-filled message to the same-sex couple.
Stone said he went outside to give O’Dell something he had left inside when he realized someone had used chemicals to burn a homophobic slur into the grass in their front yard.
“I never in a million years thought I would see that in my front yard,” Stone said. “I’m angry, I don’t understand. But, as a gay man, I feel like I’ve gone through this before. It’s almost like it comes with the territory.”
O’Dell and Stone took action, they purchased a security camera and filed a police report. But, they took it a step further.
“We can turn this terrible act of hate into something good for a local organization,” O’Dell said.
O’Dell and Stone turned their anger into action and have been helping to raise money for local non-profit, Have A Gay Day.
“If you’re struggling with who you are, regardless of how you identify yourself, there are people out there that will support you,” O’Dell said. “And there are people there to help you through those tough times, you don’t have to do it alone.”
In just five days, the duo has helped raise more than $4,000 for the non-profit, which helps to create a safe environment for those in the LGBTQ community in the Dayton area.
And to the person who defaced their yard, they have a clear message.
“Do better, be better,” Stone said.
Arcanum Police Chief Marcus Ballinger told News Center 7’s Kayla Courvell that the investigation into who is responsible is still ongoing.
And what that person could be charged with, is up to the prosecutor.
“It all comes down to what the prosecutors office decides how they want to proceed,” Ballinger said. “Right now we’re in the investigative phase of the case.”
Current Ohio law says that hate crimes do not include crimes against someone for sexual orientation. At this point, no charges have been filed.
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