'It's an act of hate': Police investigating defacement of Houston's Pride Wall

HOUSTON – Houston police are investigating an act of vandalism that defaced a mural painted on the side of Jenni’s Noodle House in the Heights.

The mural was known as Houston’s Pride Wall in the LGBTQ community. The mural was unveiled in June and the ceremony was attended by Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen and Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark civil rights case that led to marriage equality.

“I mean, it's an act of hate,” said Tammi Wallace, co-founder of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Wallace explains the mural was a beacon of equality for many in the community. 

“To give people a place to come, you know, selfies, take pictures, show your pride,” Wallace said.

Over the weekend, someone spray-painted large Xs over the mural with the words "Stop your gay agenda. Please!" Wallace said following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, this act of vandalism goes beyond criminal mischief.

“Ever since Orlando, I mean the pure hatred that came out of Orlando, these are even more important to have a place to go to show pride,” Wallace said.

Wallace said despite the pain this defacement has caused, members of the LGBTQ community remain undeterred in showing their pride and continually pushing for equality.

“This is not going to stop us,” Wallace said.

On Facebook, the owner of Jenni's Noodle House wrote the wall will not be repainted in pride colors. She wrote she does not own the building and is complying with the owner's wishes. The mural was dedicated by Pride Portraits. Creator Eric Schell said there is also a concern that repainting the wall in pride inspired colors would prompt further criminal acts.

“The mission of the wall was to uplift and affirm LBGTQIA voices, but we want people to be safe,” Schell said.

Cohen also expressed dismay at the vandalism.

“It just shows real cowardice and the level of bigotry and homophobia that still exists,” Cohen said.