A man poured boiling water on a gay couple. Georgia won't charge him with a hate crime.
A man and his boyfriend in Atlanta spent 10 days and nearly one month in a hospital, respectively, after another man poured boiling hot water on them, allegedly because of their sexual orientation.
Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert were sleeping in Gooden's apartment on February 12 when Martin Blackwell, the boyfriend of Gooden's mother, walked in. According to Tolbert, Blackwell poured boiling water on the men, causing severe burns that required surgery to treat. Blackwell, who didn't live in the apartment, told Tolbert, "Get out of my house with all that gay shit."
"The pain doesn't let you sleep. It's just, like, it's excruciating, 24 hours a day, and it doesn't go anywhere," Tolbert told Atlanta's WSB-TV. "It doesn't dial down, anything. It's just there."
Blackwell said the men were having sex when he poured hot water on them, Sarah Kaplan reported for the Washington Post. But Vickie Gray, a friend of Tolbert's, said they were sleeping, although the attack wouldn't be justified if the men were having sex.
Blackwell is currently in jail, charged with two counts of aggravated battery.
Georgia doesn't have a hate crime law
One charge Blackwell won't face from Georgia: a hate crime charge.
Like 19 other states in the US, Georgia doesn't include sexual orientation in its hate crime laws, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
In fact, Georgia has no hate crime law at all. According to the Anti-Defamation League, it joins just four other states that don't: Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
Americans supported the addition: A 2009 Gallup survey found 67 percent of Americans supported including gay and lesbian people in federal hate crime laws.
The FBI reported more than 1,000 incidents of hate crimes in 2014 against someone based on sexual orientation, but the data is likely incomplete for all LGBTQ people. Still, the reported count averages to nearly three incidents of hate crimes based on sexual orientation each day in the US.