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Westboro protesters met by crowd of 250 counter-protesters in Maryland

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Four members of the anti-gay extremist Westboro Baptist Church were met by 250 counter-protesters on Wednesday morning when they arrived outside the Anne Arundel Circuit Court building in Annapolis to protest the state’s recently enacted marriage equality law.

The counter-protest, organized by the local St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis, included members from more than a half dozen churches, and students from nearby Annapolis High School carrying signs with messages such as “make love not hate” and “love is more divine than hate.”

Westboro Baptist Church members protest Maryland’s same-sex marriage law in Annapolis, Md. on Wednesday.
Photo © Anna Staver.

Westboro Baptist Church members were met by a counter-protest consisting of about 250 church members and students.
Photo © Anna Staver.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of WBC’s founder Fred Phelps, sang homophobic songs and shouted that God had sent Newtown, Conn., shooter Adam Lanza as punishment for Connecticut legalizing same-sex marriage.

“Their whole organization is offensive,” said Adam Walden, 16. “They were here to preach hate, we were there to preach love.”

“When people came to our city to preach hate, we stood up to them,” said Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen. “It was a beautiful scene.”

WBC protesters had also planned a second protest in front of the Baltimore County Circuit Courthouse in Towson, Md., later in the morning, and were met by dozens of counter-protesters there as well. Cheers erupted when the group departed earlier than planned, reported The Baltimore Sun.

“You’re not welcome here!” one woman shouted as Westboro members walked away from the courthouse.

Maryland’s voters upheld a ballot initiative that legalized same-sex marriage in November, however the law did not take effect until Tuesday, January 1. Since government offices around the state were closed for New Year’s Day, Wednesday was the first time couples could marry inside the courthouse.

Based in Topeka, Kan., the Westboro church is not affiliated with the Baptist denomination or any other Baptist church. According to news reports, almost all of its members — fewer than 100 — are related to founder Fred Phelps either by blood or marriage.

The hate group is best known for its protest of the funerals of U.S. service members, and first came into the national spotlight in 1998, when it picketed at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay man who was brutally attacked on the night of October 6, 1998, then tied to a fence and left to die.

An online petition to the White House to have the Obama administration classify Westboro as a hate group has attracted more than 300,000 signatures as of December 31, 2012.

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13 more reader comments:

  1. They don’t deserve this publicity. The world shouldn’t even know who they are

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:33pm
  2. Many Australians know of these dirty life low scum bags

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:37pm
  3. hahahahaha This is funny. Expose the haters. It only helps our cause

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:40pm
  4. well i think there is incest in that group and it’s not even a church.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:42pm
  5. fuck the WBC. It will be a great day when they are all dead!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:43pm
  6. Wow…..the big difference. One group is hateful and full of judgment. The other group is promoting love and inclusion. I wonder which group is which……All I have to say is I’m glad I’m gay.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:44pm
  7. Great response to the Westboro Church on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CQg9f7z9eg

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:48pm
  8. These people are simple EVIL under the guise of a church! Isn’t that a sign of bad things in the Bible?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:53pm
  9. WBC may god have mercy on your souls! You are not Christian! Not by any means! You are one scary group.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 9:33pm
  10. I think it would be news if WBC wasnt met by counter-protesters. This is old and WBC just absolutely LOVES this. The world really needs to just ignore them. They WONT go away then, but they also WONT get the satisfaction the attention gives them.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 9:42pm
  11. This may be old, but I really love to see them get their asses handed to them. Sometimes, when I’m really depressed, I turn on You Tube and watch hours of WBC getting pounded. I know it’s a sad way to spend my time but, I’m disabled and, sometimes I just need that special lift! :-)

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 10:28pm
  12. Proud to say I was in Baltimore today countering their hate. I will stand up and do it again everytime so the WBC best stay away from my State

    Posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 10:30pm
  13. Good on y’all for standing up to that scary ass cult! I cant say they’re Christian because they aint, they’re the Satanic cult here!

    Posted on Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 4:20am