Anti-gay letters sent to a lesbian couple in Kingston, Ontario, have prompted a police investigation and widespread outrage from politicians and the public.
Police in Kingston have confirmed that they are investigating what they call "homophobic" threats made against a same-sex couple.
The two threatening letters, which went viral on social media Friday, demand the couple leave the city or face physical and psychological harassment (read the full letters here). The outcry on Twitter and Facebook was massive, with posts on the letters garnering thousands of shares.
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One of the letters suggests that the anti-gay group behind the missives has "contacts" in the police, an assertion the department said was "absolutely and unequivocally" false in a post to Facebook Friday.
Susan Belyea and Karen Dubinsky, the couple who received the letter, have spoken out publicly about their experience in a blog post on HuffPost Canada.
"We'll stay on our front porch with our friends, to take cover and peacefully stand our ground," the pair wrote.
The community in Kingston is standing beside Belyea and Dubinsky, who works as a history professor at Queen's University.
There was a rally Saturday in Skeleton Park to condemn the letters and express support for the the city's gay and lesbian residents.
Matt Salton, who helped organize the event, told the Kingston Whig Standard that "the best way to fight hate is love.”
The group is planning to hold more rallies every Friday night.
Politicians were also quick to react.
Kingston's Mayor Mark Gerretsen condemned the "cowardly" and "immature letters," according to the Whig Standard.
The mayor said the problem of discrimination against gays and lesbians is not specific to Kingston, but part of a wider trend caused by the movement for equality.
“I think there are still people out there that are feeling intimidated by it, and they think their actions in doing such a thing are justified but I couldn’t disagree more,” Gerretsen told the paper.
Kingston MP Ted Hsu reacted with a lighter tone.
"Reports of bigotry in #ygk - light and fresh air are the best disinfectant," Hsu posted to Facebook Friday.
Police say the letters could originate from anywhere and detectives from the major crime unit are following every lead.
Police have asked tips be sent to Detective Chris Gobeil at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 613-549-4660 ext 6186.
With files from The Canadian Press