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Windsor Locks woman turns hate into love over vandalized pride fence

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WINDSOR LOCKS — A woman is turning hate into love after her pride fence was vandalized this week. It is how the community is responding that has gotten heads turning in the neighborhood.

Instead of reporting it to police or seeking revenge of some sort, Mary-Sue Ruiter is shedding light on the incident. Her front yard has gotten visitors several times a day because she has been welcoming people to write messages on her fence now.

It’s a rainbow-colored fence that stands on Halfway House Road, one that drivers cannot miss but Ruiter did not think it was that noticeable.

“I don’t even know if anybody noticed it,” said Ruiter.

Ruiter has lived in Windsor Locks for close to 20 years. Her husband made and painted the fence for her.

“One of my kids is gay,” added Ruiter.

Originally, the fence was leaning against the house until one day, her daughter noticed the word “no” spray painted on it.

“To see some folks still kind of stuck in some very old ways of thinking about this issue is pretty discouraging,” said Kristin Mullaney of Windsor Locks.

Ruiter’s first reaction was to bring the fence forward and she has invited people to sign her fence.

Kristin Mullaney is a neighbor that lives behind Ruiter. She brought her kids to write messages and sign their names.

“People do have differences and we have to respect their differences,” added Mullaney.

Others even added a few words so instead, it now reads “Love Now Wins.”

During the interview, a young girl walked over to Ruiter with painted rocks and immediately, she broke down in tears. However, Ruiter said some people have chosen to not sign her fence and she said that is ok.

“This is not to be in your face my way or no way. This is to show it’s ok. It’s just ok,” added Ruiter.

Ruiter said the fence does mean a lot to her and she had it draped in a black fabric when the tragedy in Miami happened. She also added come Monday, she plans on moving her fence to her driveway towards the back.