SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland city officials issued a statement this week in response to letters sent anonymously to local and Portland residents that contained homophobic slurs.

“The South Portland City Council joins in solidarity and support with our LGBTQIA+ friends and neighbors who have received such letters and wish to unite in rejecting hatred and bigotry in our community, as well as in our nation,” South Portland City Manager Scott Morelli said in a statement. “Our work includes working towards a safer city for all. The South Portland City Councilors wish to lead with compassion and empathy toward an accepting, more inclusive future.”

At its meeting on Tuesday, the City Council also voted unanimously to make the statement into a resolution condemning the acts.

Residents began reporting to Portland Police that they had received letters containing death threats against gay people starting on Jan. 5, with three Portland residents and one South Portland resident. The letters also contained a pride flag with the logo of the Satanic Temple superimposed on it. Portland Police said the anonymous letters were sent to people who flew rainbow pride flags or displayed Black Lives Matter signs outside their homes. Police said the South Portland resident who received a similar letter also flew a pride flag outside their home. So far, police have received a total of eight reports of the letters, with all but one delivered to addresses in Portland.

Margaret Brownlee, one of the founders of South Portland’s Human Rights Commission, said the commission “is united against hate and any form of discrimination.” As an LGBTQIA+ person herself, Brownlee said, “It’s very scary to hear something like this,” but added she was pleased with the city’s response.

“It’s nice to know the City Council is supporting us and making us feel safe,” she said.

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