Gay Marriage Issue Sparks Alleged Attack In Safeway Parking Lot

Oct 18, 2012

The King County Sheriff's Department had to intervene Sunday when emotions over Referendum 74 reached a boiling point. It happened in a Safeway parking lot in Burien, Wash.

Sheriff spokesperson Cindi West says one victim is a woman who had a sign on her car opposing the referendum on the November ballot that supports same sex marriage.

The sign said “Reject 74.”

West says the man, "ripped the sign off, crumpled it up, threw it on the ground and started yelling at her. I guess the man said that he was gay and was offended by the sign."

Then another woman waiting in a car next to them jumped out to help the first woman. She’s African-American and West says the man then yelled racial slurs at her.

West says incidents like these that are so linked to politics are unusual.

"Honestly, we don’t see this very often. I mean, obviously during the political season people get angry about their particular sides, but it’s pretty rare that we actually see this type of violence around something like this."

Both campaigns for and against the same sex marriage referendum condemned the behavior.

The suspect faces a felony charge of malicious harassment because the incident could be motivated by race, color, or sexual orientation.

Copyright 2012 KUOW