BOSTON — A Tea Party rally in Boston on Sunday — featuring guest speakers from two noted anti-gay hate groups — drew a crowd of counter protesters from LGBT advocacy group Join the Impact Massachusetts and members of the Occupy movement, and led to arrests of at least three people.
Scott Lively, head of Abiding Truth Ministries, and Brian Camenker, Executive Director of MassResistance, both organizations of which are designated anti-gay hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were among the scheduled speakers at the The Patriots Day Tea Party rally on Boston Common.
April 15 in Boston. (Photo by Paul Weiskel.)
At least one counter protester (pictured above) is now contemplating legal action after being confronted by a Boston police officer, who was photographed with his hand around the protester’s neck. The protester, who gave the name Allie but did not want to be identified by gender, was participating in the rally to represent gays, lesbians, and transgender people.
The protester gave the name Allie but did not want to be identified by gender, and was not arrested.
From the outset, approximately 20 protestors from Join the Impact MA stood along the edge of the surrounding sidewalk quietly holding signs condemning Lively and Camenker for their anti-gay advocacy.
Just prior to Lively’s and Camenker’s turns at the podium came, an estimated 100 exuberant protestors from the Occupy movement charged onto the scene chanting loudly and waving signs. The din became an uproar as Lively
took the microphone.
In his speech, Lively blasted conservatives who would minimize the importance of social issues. He then denounced LGBT rights activists as “fascists” who were intent on destroying civilization.
Camenker met with similar push back
as he criticized the work of GLSEN for allegedly promoting homosexual “recruitment” of public school students,
a reference to the group’s efforts to prevent anti-LGBT bullying.
Lively and Camenker were loudly booed, and much of their speech-making was drowned out by Occupy chants and “mic check” counterpoints.
Ian Harris Struthers, a co-chair of Join The Impact MA told LGBTQ Nation on Monday that the group had not attended the rally looking to have a confrontation with the Tea party members present.
“We wanted a peaceful and non-violent message to be heard,” he said, but added that the presence of Lively in particular, along with Camenker, shifted the focus of the event away from the fiscal issues the “tea party” movement purports to emphasize to the social issues many Republicans would rather avoid.
Lively is best known for his role in promoting the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” pending in the Ugandan Parliament, which would impose the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”
Camenker stands out for his strident opposition to safe schools programming designed to reduce bullying and harassment of LGBT youth.
Not far from the podium another person protesting the anti-gay messages was assaulted by a Tea Partier who knocked the person’s wig off their head. In the ensuing scuffle, a Boston Police Officer intervened and grabbed at the person’s neck while shoving the person backwards.