An Atlanta man may face federal hate crime charges – after he poured boiling water over a gay couple as they slept.

Anthony Gooden, 23, and Marquez Tolbert, 21 were left with horrific burns after the incident on February 12.

The pair worked together at a local warehouse, and had slept over at Mr Gooden’s mother’s house.

At around 7 AM, while the pair were sleeping, 48-year-old Martin Luther Blackwell – who was dating Mr Gooden’s mother – arrived and decided to throw boiling water over the pair.

Mr Tolbert told Project Q: “We woke up to boiling hot water. I started screaming uncontrollably and I was pulled out of the house. We ran to the neighbours and called the police.”

“We were just burning. My body was just stinging. It was like a really, really severe kind of stinging.

“I could hardly think straight”

Mr Tolbert was hospitalised for ten days after the attack, while Mr Gooden was only released from hospital five weeks later.

Blackwell allegedly admitted that he carried out the attack because he didn’t like the idea of the two men sleeping together.

Georgia does not have LGBT hate crime laws, but the attacker – who was charged with two counts of aggravated battery – may also face federal hate crime charges.

Mr Tolbert said: “He seemed like a normal person. I had no idea anything like this would happen at all. This caught me completely by surprise.

“I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t believe the pain I was feeling at the time.”

Referencing a injury support fund that has raised over $10,000 so far, he added: “It gives you that feeling that not everybody in the world is bad.

“I am just glad there are people out there that care enough that they want to help.”