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The Ames United Church of Christ calls themselves a "theologically progressive church," they held a candlelight vigil with this pride banner for those affected by the June 13, 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. A pride banner emblazoned with the words "God is Still Speaking," which hung outside the AUCC, was lit aflame Tuesday morning.

The destruction of a queer pride banner in Ames early Tuesday morning demonstrates how LGBTQIA+ people continue to face violence, discrimination and harassment — despite the strides towards equality the community has achieved, and the pride on display this month.

Adolfo Martinez of Ames is accused of tearing down and attempting to burn a queer pride banner emblazoned with the words “God is Still Speaking” that hung outside the Ames United Church of Christ (AUCC).

Martinez is charged with reckless use of fire or explosives, disorderly conduct, fifth degree criminal mischief, fifth degree theft, and first degree harassment, according to Ames Police Department arrest reports.

The suspect was arrested by the Ames Police Department around 2 a.m. Tuesday near 111 Fifth Street, roughly 2 blocks away from the church.

Rev. Eileen Gebbie, the senior minister of AUCC, said she doesn’t know if there was a reason for the man to destroy their banner, other than him living near the church ⁠— meaning he would have seen it regularly. Martinez’s residence is near the AUCC, according to Ames Police arrest reports.

Gebbie said replacing the banner is already in the works.

“We continue to receive the revelation of God regardless of what the Bible proper says,” Gebbie said. “While the Bible proper might, for some people, still indicate that gay people are wrong and that women can’t be in leadership in the church, we don’t think the Bible is God — it is one of many mechanisms to understand what holiness asks of us.”

Gebbie said the banner represents “gay pride, and how we got to celebrate gay pride as Christians, because God is still speaking.”

Reporting contributed by Jake Webster.

Editor's Note: This story originally stated the banner was torn down "last night." It has been updated to reflect the correct day. The Daily regrets this error.

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