Westboro Baptist Church to protest funerals of Orlando shooting victims

The LGBTQ community will counter protest to protect grieving family

Feliks Garcia
New York
Friday 17 June 2016 21:07 BST
A friend of an Orlando shooting victim mourns his friend at a memorial near the Orlando Regional Medical Centre Drew Angerer/Getty
A friend of an Orlando shooting victim mourns his friend at a memorial near the Orlando Regional Medical Centre Drew Angerer/Getty

The infamous Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to demonstrate outside of an Orlando church while funerals for two victims of the Pulse nightclub shootings are underway.

LGBTQ community leaders are calling for a counter protest to dampen the shouts of the WBC protestors, who became known for their hate speech against homosexuals. The WBC said they plan to protest beginning Saturday morning at the Cathedral Church of St Luke.

“We are asking that the community form a counter protest to block out the WBC at this location,” said Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the GLBT Community Center.

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Mr DeCarlo told the Orlando Sentinel the The Center obtained a permit to counter protest on the other side of the street, so as to prevent grieving family members from seeing and hearing the WBC protest.

“I'm not surprised evil reared its ugly head,” Mr DeCarlo said. “We'll make sure they are not heard.”

Orlando Police did not indicate whether or not WBC obtained a permit for their protest.

"Westboro Baptist Church does not need a permit if they intend to have fewer than 100 people come to town," a spokesperson for the department told The Independent. "In the past they have brought only a handful."

The WBC issued a statement on Thursday announcing the protest of the funerals, with an image of a sign that proclaims, “God sent the shooter.” Their protests generally consist of claims that tragedy’s happen to victims as a penance of sorts.

“No coincidence that God is smacking Orlando with grievous sorrow, killing your children with shooters and alligators, when you are about to belly up to ‘father’s day’!” the WBC said in a statement. “DON’T DO IT! Your faithless dads are to blame for your horrible sorrow.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Kansas-based organisation as extremist hate group, and say that they are “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.”

But the GLBT Center plans to not let the WBC steer them away. Counter protesters are expected to bring homemade angel wings and supportive signs to obscure the signs of the extremist group.

“Let’s shower them with our love,” Mr DeCarlo asked of his community.

“We have the ability to counter this hate and show the world once again why we are the City Beautiful and we cannot be broken by hate and those that would challenge our way of life.”

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