By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com August 27 2009 9:05 PM ET
A Lansing, Mich., gay man says a brutal attack on him Saturday night was motivated by his sexual orientation, reports WLNS TV.
Shawn Bennett walked to Clifford Park in the state capital and sat at a picnic table, where shortly afterward suspects approached from behind and launched a vicious assault.
"They stuck gravel in my face, putting rocks in my ears; the hospital actually had to take them out,” he told the TV station.
Bennett, who is recuperating at home, said the attackers also pulled him to the ground and burned him at least a dozen times with a cigar or cigarette.
Bennett said the suspects live in his neighborhood and began threatening him in June because is gay. Police have identified the suspects but have not made any arrests.
Currently, the Michigan hate-crimes law does not cover attacks motivated by sexual orientation. The house of representatives passed a series of measures to protect LGBT people in May, but the measures remain stalled in the state senate.