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Missouri gay
campground owners allege harassment

Missouri gay
campground owners allege harassment

The owners of a gay men's campground in southwestern Missouri have filed a lawsuit alleging that their neighbors have harassed them for years in an effort to drive them out of business. Charles Franzke and James Thideman own the Cactus Canyon Campground near Springfield. In court papers, they claim five of their neighbors conspired to drive them off their property. They say the defendants shot at them, threw rocks, threatened them, and circulated petitions against the campground. Franzke and Thideman also claim the neighbors vandalized the campground and started a hog farm on the property line to "create hazardous runoff." They say the harassment violates Missouri's hate-crimes law, which covers a victim's sexual orientation. The neighbor's lawyer, Brian Malkmus, told the News-Leader, "The case is a land dispute at its heart." But another neighbor who's a friend of Franzke and Thideman told the newspaper the men have tried to talk to the defendants without success and filed the lawsuit as a last resort. (Sirius OutQ News)

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