A traditional family in Gilbert, Arizona attends church.
GILBERT, AZ (SP) — It was cold night on December 21, 2014. Don was reading the Bible aloud to a few of his buddies as they huddled together at a topless bar when his wife, Agnes, heard a seemingly benign knock on their front door. She was home alone with the couple’s four and seven-ninths children, unaware of how profoundly her blissful heterosexual life was about to change.
What happened next is still difficult for Agnes to talk about. Less than a minute before that fateful knock she landed in an exhausted heap on the stained and threadbare sofa that smelled faintly of dirt and urine. It had been a joyful day of changing endless diapers, driving incessantly whining children to school and soccer practice, and listening to Don yell after she burned the meatloaf.
Now with the children all safely tucked into their beds and sedated on Benadryl, Agnes was looking forward to a little “me time.” It was her birthday and she was still basking in the warmth of Don’s thoughtful gift: A shiny new plastic kitchen garbage can that he found on clearance at Walmart. Blue. Like the sky on a clear winter day during an inversion, she recalled with an affectionate smile. This year he even remembered a card, a musical one. A grinning horse’s head graced the front panel that opened to a cheap mirror and the whimsical melody of “The Old Gray Mare (she ain’t what she used to be …)” Don had a knack for always finding just the right thing.
Agnes juggled a well-worn copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, a half empty carton of Premature Death by Salted Caramel Fudge ice cream, and the latest edition of Cosmopolitan opened to an article entitled, “You’re Not the Only One Tired of Your Umpteenth Pregnancy: 21 Signs Your Husband is Sleeping With Someone Way More Attractive While You’re Horking Up Your Esophagus.” A framed print of Jesus Christ hung from a single nail above the couch. My heterosexual Christian life could not be more perfect, Agnes thought contentedly. It would be the last time she would think that.
Upon hearing the knock Agnes sighed, hoisted herself from the sofa and waddled innocently to the door. She was unprepared for the appalling sight that greeted her. Two seemingly normal men with deceptively kind smiles stood on her front doorstep, holding out a gorgeous plate of steaming beignets. “Hello,” said one who was wearing a soft gray sweater. “My husband and I just moved in next door. We wanted to stop by and introduce ourselves as your new neighbors.”
“Your husband …?” Agnes’s eyes darted in shock to the matching wedding bands on their fingers as the terrifying truth dawned. Little did she know, but that chance encounter was the beginning of the end for her blissful traditional marriage.
She later recounted the horror of that first meeting during an interview with Sheep Dip. “They were so nice and appeared so … normal.” She looked at Don who scowled while sitting beside her on the stained sofa. “It was obvious they felt a twisted pleasure in tormenting me for my religious beliefs. It was sickening.” Agnes took a deep breath and continued. “They even offered to help me if I ever needed anything.” She looked at Don and winced at his expression. “The big bullies.” Still visibly suffering the negative effects of that fateful encounter, her face took on a dreamy cast. “Oh, but the beignets were so delicious. Don’s never given me anything like that … not even for my birthday,” she said in a scandalized whisper, then giggled for no apparent reason.
Don and Agnes recently joined other terrorized Christians in their community to make a formal stand against the gay couple’s imminent threat to their religious freedom to hate and discriminate against gay people. “We’re tired of their bigotry and persecution because of our religious beliefs, and we’re not going to take it anymore,” Don courageously declared to loud cheers and applause at a recent community potluck and effigy burning. He elbowed Agnes who stood next to him, staring off into the distance. “Tha- that’s right,” she said, startled. “I’d never even heard of a beignet before. … It’s a fabulously flaky pasty that’s lighter than air and …” her voice trailed to a breathless whisper. She looked at Don and seemed to remember something. “It ain’t right.”
Other Christians in the community have also been victimized. “Ever since they showed up, my wife has been nagging me to clean up our yard,” said Tom Wardle, inclining his head toward the gay couple’s lush garden. Noting that his heterosexual marriage had suffered a serious wound, Wardle was quick to acknowledge that he was far from the only victim. “What they did to Agnes and Don … it was a hate crime,” he said.
But that demonstration of blatant religious intolerance was only the beginning. Other members of the Gilbert community have reported the gay couple saying “Hello” to them and even speaking kindly to their children. One Christian family was horrified to come home from a Disneyland vacation to discover that the gay couple had thoughtfully placed their newspapers on the front porch so it wouldn’t look like no one was home.
But no one has suffered from the gay couple’s happy marriage like Agnes and Don. A few weeks after we interviewed her, Agnes was overheard directing Don to “shove it” before she forced him to leave their once blissful Christian heterosexual home.
As of press time, an elderly woman had called police to report that one of the gay men helped her load groceries into her car, totally undermining her Christian belief that gays are bad and forcing the City of Gilbert to issue a statement. “We want people to know that Gilbert will not tolerate these blatant acts of religious intolerance.”