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Defaced LGBT Sign Prompts Rally For Acceptance

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church is taking a stand against hate, while calling for diversity and acceptance.

The morning church service ended with members signing the flag for the Central Outreach Wellness Center after someone defaced it with hate speech on Friday.

"It made me very angry and it was sad that this stuff goes on in 2016," said Dr. Stacey Lane with the center.

The Central Outreach Wellness Center offers medical care to members of the gay, lesbian and transgender community. Graffiti scrawled on the flag was aimed at patients, and some believe those words have a uniting effect on the community.

"I think the Dignity & Respect Campaign along with a number of members in the community we are all about trying to let people know that one incident doesn't define the community, doesn't define the organization and it surely doesn't define who we are in the city of Pittsburgh," said Candi Castleberry-Singleton, CEO of the Dignity & Respect Campaign.

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In a show of support, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald signed the flag.

"We're a city and a region again that's attracting people. It's attracting young people, it's a attracting people from all over the world and we want to make sure when people come here they feel welcome," Fitzgerald said.

Dr. Lane said she does not want to pursue criminal charges, but instead wants to teach tolerance to the person responsible.

"Turn this message that was supposed to be a very hateful thing into something positive and a reminder to all of us that we have a lot of work to do so we could all have equality at some point in this country and this city," she explained.

Lane said she hopes it is an isolated incident, but she is considering placing surveillance cameras outside the center.

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