Burn the American flag? No problem. Burn the LGBTQ flag? Get 15 years in prison.

An Iowa man, Adolfo Martinez, 30, was just sentenced to 30 days in jail for “third-degree harassment” and one year for “reckless use of fire” when he stole an LGBTQ flag from a local “church.” That doesn’t sound so bad but what sets this case apart is Martinez was sentenced to another 15 years on a hate crime charge.

Martinez may have thought this act could be no worse than if he had burned the American flag since the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Texas v. Johnson (1989) that (American) flag burning was protected speech under the First Amendment.

He may have considered the LGBTQ rainbow flag a slightly less protected national symbol.

He would have been wrong.

He may have believed that, at the very least, his act of defiance would be protected under the First Amendment based on the Johnson decision.

He obviously doesn’t understand the sad state of American culture in the 21st century.

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