Gay pride flag disappears from outside Tarrytown church

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Marcus Solis is live with the latest details.

A church in Westchester County is fighting back against vandals, it says.

Gay pride flags have always hung outside the Christ Episcopal Church on South Broadway in Tarrytown, but a new one, hung after the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Saturday night, has disappeared.

"It felt like a violation that somebody had taken it down and made a statement that churches shouldn't do this," said Rev. Susan Copley, Christ Episcopal Church.

What Reverend Copley did and has done for years is hang gay pride flags outside Christ Episcopal Church in Tarrytown.

And after Sunday's massacre in Orlando, Copley hung a third rainbow banner as a show of solidarity.

"Our church, the Episcopal Church, is serious about welcoming gay and lesbian people and in this horrible tragedy in Orlando, we want them to know that we stand with them," Rev. Copley said.

By Tuesday however, the flag was gone and the plastic zip ties holding it in place were cut with a knife.

"I just don't think it fits to the way that people act in Tarrytown typically, it's a pretty open minded group of people around here," said Dan Manning, a Tarrytown resident.

But this isn't the first time a flag has been stolen from the church.

One was even returned a year later with a now-framed note saying, "I'm sorry, I was a stupid kid."

Christ Church is a historic church, where the pew Washington Irving worshipped in is still preserved.

Tuesday night, a candlelight vigil was held during which the names of all the victims, even gunman's, were read aloud.

"We support the LGBT and it's a good thing to show that we do," said John Jolly, a parishioner.

Though police were on hand, Copley says she doesn't want to make this a criminal matter.

She says she forgives the vandal and has ordered four additional banners, which she will use to cover the entire fence.

"Even small actions, either they lead to greater evil, or they can lead to greater good and even more love," Rev. Copley said.

To those thinking that stealing the flag that sends a message, there is another message, which is the mantra of this church.

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