PORTLAND -- Vandals broke century-old stained glass windows at an historic Portland church Tuesday and a group claimed responsibility, saying it was because of the church's stance against homosexuality.
Someone sent an email to local media claiming responsibility for the vandalism at Mars Hill Church in the name of gay rights.
In all, nine windows were damaged and church officials said it will cost thousands of dollars to fix them. Some of the windows were 100-years old.
A neighbor who was awakened by the noise reported seeing six people dressed in black and wearing masks. They threw rocks at the church as they ran past.
"Frankly in my mind it's a hate crime. Sometimes I think that word gets thrown around a lot, but if you're persecuting someone for their beliefs, even if you don't agree with their beliefs, that in my mind is what that is," said Logan Lynn, with the Q Center.
The lead pastor, Tim Smith, said he's saddened but wishes the vandals no ill will.
The Seattle-based Mars Hill Church moved into the building last September and postponed its first service because opponents planned a "kiss-in" to protest the church's stand against homosexuality.
Members of the Q Center and Metropolitan Community Church helped Mars Hill clean up the broken glass.
The Mars Hill Church is located at 3210 SE Taylor Street in Portland.