Louisiana: Gay couple and friends assaulted at Barbra Streisand movie screening

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Louisiana man says he and his partner were attacked at a movie cinema because of their sexual orientation.

Walt Jamison went to see the new Barbra Streisand movie ‘The Guilt Trip’ on Sunday 13 January. He was with his boyfriend and two other gay friends – who it’s claimed were also assaulted.

Mr Jamison told the Daily Advertiser that a man sitting behind them, identified as Joseph Menard, 37, from Rayne, Louisiana, immediately made an anti-gay comment about their presence.

When Mr Jamison’s partner responded with an inquisitive “Excuse me?” Menard “stood up and leaned over us and started screaming hate slurs peppered with profanities,” Mr Jamison told the Advertiser.

Menard then proceeded to physically assault the couple by striking both of them in the head.

The 37-year-old now faces two counts of simple battery. He is not charged with a hate crime, though police admit the verbal attack was, in fact, about the men’s sexuality.

His wife was also charged with resisting arrest, having fled the scene.

Louisiana Revised Statute 14:107.2 addresses hate crimes. It states that it is unlawful to select a victim of various crimes, including battery and aggravated battery, on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation.