A gay couple is recovering from facial injuries after enduring what they believe was a hate-motivated attack during Seattle Pride, reports Seattle's KOMO-TV.
Steven Briggs and Patrick Dettling said they traveled from Olympia to Seattle Sunday to celebrate Pride at Capitol Hill and had enjoyed a morning full of fun and laughter. But when the couple sat down to eat lunch, they told KOMO a group of three men and two women stopped behind them. Dettling, who was seated and holding his hands behind his back to stretch, said one man hit his hand hard.
"I said, Why did you do that?'" Dettling recalled. "And he was like, 'I was just high-fiving you.' And I said, 'That wasn't a high-five.' And that's when things escalated."
Dettling told KOMO his attacker punched him in the face several times as another yelled a homophobic slur. Briggs tackled that assailant to the ground but then the two other men kicked and punched him in the head. By the time he could stand up again, the group had made a run for it and Briggs could not keep up.
Dettling and Briggs said they spent the next 5 hours in the hospital. Dettling suffered a broken nose, cuts, bruises, and a left leg injury that has made it difficult for him to walk. Briggs suffered a broken right ring finger and had half of a front tooth knocked out. Dettling snapped a picture of the worst of his injuries for evidence.
The couple — together for 8 years and moving to a new home next week — told KOMO they were concerned they would now have to miss several days of work and pay thousands of dollars in medical bills as they recover from the attack.
Despite this, Briggs and Dettling couldn't be kept from from attending the rest of Pride. Briggs, who works as a crime victim advocate, convinced Dettling to return to the celebration, saying, "No, we shouldn't let them get to us. We should come up here and do what we originally planned, which was to enjoy Pride," according to Dettling.
But Dettling said he's still shaken. "It's kinda made me regress back a bit ... regress backwards in my progress of feeling comfortable with who I am. I feel like I've been pushed back a step," he explained to the station.
"People have this idea now that same-sex marriage has been legalized, they think with marriage comes everything," he added. "You know, that all the ignorance and intolerance goes away — and it doesn't."
In the wake of Friday's decision by the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, several LGBT groups have expressed concern that anti-gay violence might rise in a backlash.
Fear rose over the weekend when a San Francisco Pride attendee was shot and wounded Saturday evening, but police say the gunfire stemmed from a disagreement unrelated to the event. Yesterday, a North Carolina man was arrested for assaulting a Charlotte bar owner several times as he yelled angrily about the ruling.
Seattle police have not yet identified Dettling and Briggs's attackers, but are investigating the alleged assault. It remains unclear whether hate crime charges will be filed.
Learn more in the KOMO report below.