The nativity scene outside of a church in Claremont, Calif., positively depicting gay and lesbian couples was vandalized, prompting police to look into the incident as a potential hate crime.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Claremont United Methodist Church's display features silhouettes of one heterosexual couple, a gay couple, and a lesbian couple. The straight couple was unharmed but the silhouettes of the same-sex couples were knocked over, causing approximately $3,000 in damage, artist John Zachary said according to CBS News. The incident occurred between 11 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday, Christmas Day.
The church is known for its poignant nativity scenes, all created by the same artist who says this is the first time his work had ever been purposefully harmed. His previous scenes depict the U.S./Mexico border fence, and a war scene in the Middle East.
Sgt. Jason Walters told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime because it occurred on church property, and because it depicted gay couples.