SOUTH PORTLAND — City councilors spoke in support of the LGBTQIA+ community on Jan. 12, passing a resolution to reject hatred and bigotry after a South Portland resident reported receiving a threatening letter.

The South Portland Police Department confirmed in a statement that one resident had reported an anonymous letter in the mail “containing threatening, homophobic language.”

“As of this writing, we have received only the one report,” the department said on Jan. 8. “However, we are asking that any other residents who have received, or happen to receive, any such letter in the future to please report it to us.”

Earlier in January, the Portland Police Department also issued a statement regarding residents who received homophobic letters, the South Portland Police Department said. The department believes the person or group who sent the Portland letters sent the South Portland letter, too.

In response to this, the South Portland City Council adopted a statement, saying that the council joins in solidarity and supports LGBTQIA+ community members who have received such letters as well as rejects bigotry and hatred in the community and nation.

“The South Portland City Councilors wish to lead with compassion and empathy toward an accepting, more inclusive future,” the resolution said.

Councilor Jocelyn Leighton, who brought the resolution forward, has spoken with the South Portland letter recipient, she said. The individual has received “tremendous” community support.

“I’m here to support anybody in this city who may receive these or who are fearing they may receive these,” Leighton said.

Resident Pedro Vazquez expressed gratitude to the city council.

“We fly the pride flag at my house and have for a very long time,” he said. “I have struggled with this — it’s an old house and sometimes it creaks in the middle of the night, and hearing what I’ve heard of other people in the community have experienced, it’s given me reason for pause. I think this is a great move. I wholeheartedly support it.”

The city is working with the Portland Police Department until the responsible party for the letters is found, City Manager Scott Morelli said.

The letters contained an image of The Satanic Temple logo, the South Portland City Council resolution said.

This image was included in letters mailed to several residents of Portland and South Portland along with what police described as a threat and homophobic slur. The Satanic Temple clarified on Jan. 14 that this image is of a pride flag that the organization sells on its website in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, and reasons for its inclusion are unknown. Courtesy photo Portland Police Department

The purpose of using The Satanic Temple’s logo on the letters remains “unclear,” said a statement from the organization on Jan. 14.

“Almost universally, local press has reported that the image on the threatening letters is a ‘Pride flag with the logo of the Satanic Temple superimposed on it,'” the statement said. “In fact, The Satanic Temple logo in the image is not something superimposed after-the-fact — it is an image of a pride flag that The Satanic Temple sells on its own website as an indication of The Satanic Temple’s own unwavering and consistent support for LGBTQIA+ communities.”

The organization openly supports the LGBTQIA+ community, Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson of The Satanic Temple, said.

“(O)ne description leaves open the possibility that our logo was placed over the pride flag by the author of the hateful letters as an indication of alignment with The Satanic Temple against those to whom the perpetrator addressed the letters,” Greaves said. “The reality is that a large proportion of The Satanic Temple’s membership are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and we have never been ambiguous about our support for their rights, free from the bigotry and small-mindedness conveyed in the hate mail circulating in the Portland area.”

The Satanic Temple will explore any legal options possible when the responsible party is found, said Greaves.

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