WASHINGTON— Anti-LGBT activist Acra Lee Turner claims to be a man of the cloth, but also admits to sexually assaulting multiple women, including an 80-year-old who was beaten so badly that she was almost unrecognizable, according to media reports. A video released this week by anti-equality activists in Eureka Springs, Arkansas prominently features the convicted rapist who relocated from Oklahoma to Arkansas. Turner's victims petitioned to keep him locked up, fearing he would commit the crimes again. But despite their valiant efforts to keep him behind bars, Turner was eventually released and has now made LGBT people his target -- this time as an alleged pastor.
In a jaw dropping moment of painful irony, at another point in the same video that features Turner, an older woman named Joann Turner says, “As a mother and a grandmother and having young children and even innocent ladies going into the bathroom, this would open us up to being abused in any way.”
Earlier this year, the Eureka Springs Board of Alderman passed LGBT inclusive non–discrimination protections for its residents. In order to avoid a contentious battle with opponents of equality, the elected officials placed the issue on the ballot next month. The campaign is using people like Turner, who claims to be a Baptist pastor, to stir up opposition. But Turner's words and actions fall far short of the Golden Rule.
“If this wasn't so disturbing, it would make for a great soap opera. Acra Lee Turner is the last person who should be given a platform to preach against anyone," said HRC communications vice president Fred Sainz. “This video is a good example of how opponents of equality are increasingly scraping the bottom of barrel when it comes to supporters.”
Turner’s video comments come as more than 225 cities and counties have enacted inclusive laws prohibiting discrimination. In addition, countless businesses across the United States, including a super-majority of Fortune 500 companies, have voluntarily adopted comprehensive policies that prohibit discrimination. Equality supporters in Eureka Springs are simply attempting to create a safe, inclusive environment for all people to call home.
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