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Man distributing antigay pamphlets charged with littering

Man distributing antigay pamphlets charged with littering

A Connecticut man is facing civil littering charges after he allegedly distributed pamphlets in Brattleboro, Vt., that some consider to be antigay. Brattleboro police said they found Christopher Gearhart, 25, of Torrington, Conn., distributing the fliers around 2 p.m. Thursday. "Basically he was charged for littering because it's not illegal to hand out pamphlets," said Lt. Chuck Aleck of the Brattleboro Police Department, adding that Gearhart was dropping the pamphlets on the sidewalk as well as the street. The pamphlet is titled "Is Homosexual Activity Normal?" and it includes a warning that its material is explicit and not appropriate for children. It was produced by a group affiliated with a newsletter called "The Truth at Last." A mailing address on the pamphlet is in Marietta, Ga. Chestnut Street resident Kelley Mulhall said she found one of the pamphlets in a small, orange plastic bag in her driveway. "Not only am I horribly upset about the article, but more so where they state it is not appropriate for children, and they drop it within 200 yards of the school," she said, referring to Esteyville School, located near her house. The pamphlet gives detailed descriptions of sexual activities and makes inflammatory assertions about the way gays, lesbians, and bisexuals behave. In a telephone interview with the Brattleboro Reformer, Gearhart said he came to Brattleboro with the pamphlets because of the state's civil unions law. He said a friend gave the fliers to him because he knew he was opposed to same-sex marriage. After his run-in with the police, he said he would probably would not return to town. Aleck said there had been similar incidents in the past. "This is probably the fourth or fifth time since I've been here," he said. Curtiss Reed, director of ALANA Community Organization, saw the pamphlets distributed Thursday. He said the pamphlet was more sophisticated than the previous flier, and the organization seems to be using various forms of media to market its point of view. "It's regrettable that people have these points of views," he said, adding, however, that everyone is entitled to an opinion.

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