Cross-Bearing Woman Says She Was Attacked by Gay Marriage Supporters, May Press Charges

Published November 13, 2008

| FoxNews.com

An elderly woman who attended a gay rights protest carrying a cross to voice her support of the new California ban on gay marriage says she was attacked by demonstrators and now may press charges.

Palm Springs Police Department spokesman Sgt. Mitch Spike told FOXNews.com no arrests had been made as of Thursday evening and added that victim Phyllis Burgess still is deciding whether she'll press assault charges.

"The investigation is proceeding as it should," Spike said.

Asked if the charges could be elevated to include hate crime penalties, Spike told FOXNews.com, "That's a possibility. That's one of the things we're looking at."

Carrying a large, foam cross, Burgess, 69, showed up at a rally last Friday against Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage approved this month by California voters.

She was there to show her belief in traditional marriage, she said.

Within minutes, however, angry protesters swarmed around the Palm Springs resident, yanked the cross from her hands and trampled on it, as seen in a video of the incident posted on YouTube.

"I guess I didn’t see the gravity of the whole thing and how it was being portrayed to the public," Burgess told The Desert Sun newspaper. "People are incensed. They seem to want some kind of justice."

If charges are filed, Spike said prosecution could be difficult because the alleged suspect or suspects seen in the video have yet to be identified.

"We haven't been able to identify everyone in that video," Spike told FOXNews.com.

Click here for more on this story from The Desert Sun.

Click here to see the video on YouTube.

FOXNews' Joshua Rhett Miller contributed to this report.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/11/13/cross-bearing-woman-says-was-attacked-by-gay-marriage-supporters-may-press