Official statement from the Gilbert Baker Foundation: On the Death of Laura Ann Carleton Who Dared to Fly the Rainbow Flag

The Gilbert Baker Foundation mourns the recent murder of Laura Ann Carleton, gift shop owner in Cedar Glen, CA. Longtime LGBTQ+ ally, Laura was shot dead by a man who complained about the Pride Flag displayed at her store. Carleton leaves behind a husband and nine children.

The world has reacted with anger to this shocking hate crime. But people should not be surprised. This is the inevitable conclusion of mounting Republican Party and conservative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. They label us as groomers, they lie that we are recruiting children. They ban our books, halt gender-affirming care, and censor our school curricula. And all this hatred creates more hatred. Now it has led to the brutal and senseless murder of a straight woman whose only crime was to support her LGBTQ+ friends by flying a Rainbow Pride Flag.

The blood of Laura Carleton is on the hands of every conservative politician and public figure who makes verbal and legislative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. Make no mistake; this horrendous crime is no isolated incident. Across the country the Rainbow Flag has been banned in forty cities. Right-wing legislators have also tried to ban the flag nationally - over 30 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted for such a proposal earlier this year. This wave of censorship and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment has created a climate ripe for hate crimes, and now a brutal murder in Cedar Glen.

The Gilbert Baker Foundation unequivocally condemns the rhetoric of hatred promoted by conservative and homophobic public figures. Words have consequences. Words of hate have even greater consequences.

In memory of Laura Ann Carleton, the Foundation asks every American to display a Rainbow Flag - at their homes, at their businesses - to let the haters across America know that we will not allow them to win.

--- Charles Beal, President, Gilbert Baker Foundation

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