Couple's Gay Pride Flag Burned, Neighbor Charged

A wedding picture showing Ariann Anderson and Jess Meadows-Anderson on their wedding day in Iowa back in 2011.
By  | 

An Omaha man is behind bars charged with felony arson after a Sunday morning incident.

Police say Cameron Mayfield, 23, set a rainbow flag on fire and ran through a neighborhood just south of Hanscom Park.

The flag, also referred to as a gay pride flag, came from the front porch of Ariann Anderson and Jess Meadows-Anderson. The two women say they view the flag burning as a hate-filled attack directed at them.

"It goes beyond vandalism or a threat," said Anderson. "That's a direct attack."

The two were woken up just after midnight. At first the women thought their home was being burglarized. Meadows-Anderson rushed downstairs to check on their two girls. Meanwhile, Anderson made it to a window just in time to see a van drive off.

Shortly after being woken up they heard noises outside again. When they went to a window they saw a man running down the street with what looked like a burning stick. It took the two women a few moments to realize he was burning their rainbow colored flag.

According to Anderson, she's never had a run-in with Mayfield. His home is less than 10 houses down the road from them.

While the attack was jarring, Anderson said it was a reminder of the hate some people have inside of them, it hasn't stopped them from flying a gay pride flag on their home. In fact, a new flag was already back on their front porch by Sunday afternoon.

"You almost feel bad for a minute," said Meadows-Anderson. "He's a young man and he made a hate-filled, drunken mistake that will have a lasting effect on his life and his family."

"Yeah, that's a big deal," added Anderson. "It's a felony."

According to the Omaha Police Department, Cameron Mayfield is facing a 2nd degree felony arson charge.

Mayfield is also facing a separate charge for resisting. Police say he tried to run away from police after they showed up at his home to speak with him.

WOWT 6 News spoke with Mayfield's father who said Mayfield hardly remembered the incident by the time his father arrived to speak with him Saturday night (early Sunday morning). Mayfield remains in jail as of Sunday night.

Mayfield's father, who requested to keep his name out of the story, said his son recently lost his job, was denied unemployment and began drinking the night of the incident. He also told WOWT 6 News by phone that it sounded like his son was upset about a prior run-in with Anderson.

As for Anderson and Meadows-Anderson the two say they're still focused on bigger news. The couple is hoping that a federal judge in Omaha makes a ruling that will allow same-sex marriages in Nebraska. The two are currently married in Iowa, but that union isn't recognized in their home state.

If the judge makes a decision in the coming days the two say they have plans to get married in a court house. The two had a large wedding for friends and family in Iowa in 2011.