"The news is alarming, and it's unfortunate something like this happened to two wonderful people and their son."
Jim Blome, neighbor (KPAX)



"Whoever set this fire did not intend to simply frighten or intimidate this family. They meant to kill them," said Matt Coles, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. "Two days after the case was filed, all of the plaintiffs received anonymous death threats in the mail that said, 'Die dyke.'"



"This neighborhood doesn't attract any trouble. Residents describe their neighborhood as peaceful and quiet. It's a family oriented side of town. It even attracts the college students. Many of the backyards are cluttered with playsets and toys. It's where residents feel comfortable walking out to get the morning paper without looking over their shoulder."



Home Torched After Couple Seeks
Partner Rights

(February 9, Missoula, Montana) Just days after they filed a suit to gain partnership rights an arsonist broke into the home of Adrianne Neff, Carla Grayson and their infant son Friday morning, and set it on fire.

Investigators say an intruder broke into the house, started the fire from the inside, and snuck out while the family slept. After waking to the smell of smoke, the two women and their 22-month-old son escaped out a bedroom window. None of them were hurt, but one of the women checked in to a hospital briefly for smoke inhalation.

Neff, Grayson and their son were left with the night clothes they were wearing as they crawled through a window. Their house was gutted, their belongings destroyed, and fire officials are treating it as a triple attempted homicide. Friday afternoon, Federal officials entered the investigation.

Tuesday, Neff and Grayson - along with other plaintiffs and PRIDE, Inc., a Montana group representing gays and lesbians - filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Helena seeking health benefits for gay partners of University of Montana employees, where Grayson is a professor.

The defendants in the case are the university system, the state, the commissioner of higher education and the Board of Regents.

The lawsuit gained local media attention and those publicly named in the suit received death threats in the mail that read "die dyke", according to the ACLU.

"Whoever set this fire did not intend to simply frighten or intimidate this family. They meant to kill them," said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project.

Seth Kilbourn, the national field director for the Human Rights Campaign applauded authorities for moving quickly to fully investigate the apparent hate crime.

"We hope law enforcement will arrest and prosecute these criminals to the fullest extent of the law and send a strong message that these terrorist tactics have no place in America," Kilbourn said.

Please consider assisting the family pay costs associated with the fire and security measures.

Checks can be made payable to"Relief Fund"

P.O. Box 775, Helena, MT 59624.

Based on reports from KPAX, the Advocate, and 365gay.com