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‘Marriage Equality’ Banner Stolen from Church

ROCKY RIVER, OH — A Rocky River church banner promoting same sex marriage is missing. Now, church leaders and local residents want answers and their banner returned.

“I pulled into the church parking lot and I noticed something was wrong; something was missing,” said Rev. Kathleen Rolenz.

What was missing was a banner that read, “Marriage Equality Now.”

Rolenz and her husband are the co-ministers at the West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church on Hilliard Boulevard. She says stealing the banner was an act of political vandalism.

“The reason is because they didn’t steal the other banner, the “Standing on the Side of Love” banner. They stole the “Marriage Equality” banner, and so who took the banner was trying to make a statement of their own and we believe that should not stand,” said Rolenz.

A new banner will cost up to $400 to replace, but Rolenz says it’s not about the money, but rather the message.

“We are very proud of that banner. We see it as civil, civil marriage is a civil right and the freedom of couples to marry is important to us,” said Rolenz.

Church leaders say the banner had been hanging at the church for more than two years and only one person had ever complained to them about it and now it’s gone.

People say stealing the “marriage equality” banner is very wrong.

“That’s like vandalizing a church. That’s a church. That’s holy ground, so whoever did it, they’ll pay for it in the end. So put another one up and everybody be happy,” said Monique Clayton of Parma.

Church leaders say they hope their stolen banner will be returned to them by this weekend and if not, they plan on holding a fundraiser on Sunday so they can buy a new one.

Rocky River police say no arrests have been made in the church banner theft and they are still investigating.