Press

NGLTF and Pacific Pride Foundation Condemn Hate-Motivated Killing of Santa Barbara Gay Man

Date: 
March 04, 2002

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) and the Pacific Pride Foundation (Santa Barbara, Calif.) today condemned the killing of 37-year-old Santa Barbara Clint Scott Risetter. Risetter died Sunday, Feb. 24, as a result of burns he sustained to his body after being doused with gasoline and set on fire.

According to the LA Times Web site, Martin Thomas Hartman, 38, doused Risetter with gasoline and set him on fire because Risetter was a gay man who was "unhappy and depressed so he didn't need to be around in the world." According to the lead investigator in the case, Hartman stated he (Hartman) has a lot of hatred toward gay people. Hartman has been charged with murder, arson and a hate crime.

"Acts of violence such as this against members of our community are unthinkable, yet they occur with alarming frequency around the country. We are deeply saddened, angered, and ever more committed to changing the environment that fosters and supports this kind of hate violence," said Darrel Cummings, deputy executive director of NGLTF. "Those in religious and political leadership, such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and, most recently, Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court, must once and for all end the hateful rhetoric that inspires homophobia and accompanying hate crimes."

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Jerry Falwell asserted that "gays and lesbians," among others, were to blame for the tragedies in New York City and Washington, DC. Falwell's comments were made during a program hosted by Pat Robertson, who agreed with Falwell. Moore recently commented, in a concurring opinion, that "...common law designates homosexuality as an inherent evil..." Moore went on to say that homosexuality is "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature."

"We are outraged and saddened by the news of such a heinous crime in Santa Barbara," said Janet Stanley, M.A., executive director of Pacific Pride Foundation, "This is a time for all Santa Barbarans to come together to denounce such actions." Pacific Pride Foundation is the umbrella organization for the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center and AIDS Project Central Coast.

The Pacific Pride Foundation is organizing a candlelight vigil and memorial for tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 1500 State Street, in Santa Barbara (at the corner of State and Micheltorena). In concert with Pacific Pride Foundation's vigil and memorial, NGLTF encourages the GLBT community and its allies to contact the following officials to urge that this hate crime, and all hate-motivated activity and rhetoric, not go unnoticed.

  • CA. Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson, 35th District: 916-319-2035
  • State Senator Jack O-Connell, 18th District: 916-445-5405
  • U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps, 22nd Congressional District: 202-225-3601
  • U.S. Senator Boxer: 202-224-3553
  • U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein: 202-224-3841

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.