Westboro Baptist Church outnumbered by LGBT protesters and allies in Washington
Five female members of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) met nothing but waves of opposition as they took a short tour through the Washington city of Spokane on Thursday (October 11).
Large numbers of counter-protesters, some of them carrying rainbow flags, turned out to greet the women as they began their series of demonstrations across the city to protest an environmental science conference taking place in the city.
They were met at each one of them by a wave of protesters, who came out in force to show support for LGBT+ people and other groups who have been attacked by the church.
The WBC has repeatedly come under fire for its strongly discriminatory attitudes. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups in the US, designates the WBC as “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group.”
The first counter-protest against the WBC took place at Lewis and Clark High School, according to the Spokesman. After the church sent mixed messages, there was confusion about when WBC members were planning on turning up at the school.
This led to a heavy police presence at 7am in the morning, with school staff and police forced to keep watch as students arrived.
The school refused to accept the hateful arguments of the church and the assistant principal even handed out rainbow sweets as students arrived.
This was followed by dozens of students, and a number of adults, staging a demonstration outside, holding up posters promoting acceptance.
There were also messages written in chalk on the pavement, including one that read: “Don’t let the haters win.”
The group of religious fundamentalists never arrived at the school, however they soon appeared at the Spokane Convention Centre.
The women then moved on to the Gonzaga University campus, where they occupied a section of the pavement to stage their protest. They held up signs and shouted messages relating to the Bible at the crowds.
More from PinkNews
However, they were met with counter-protests from students, including students from the Jesuit school. The university responded by holding an interfaith prayer event on campus.
One person who attended the Gonzaga demonstration, Abbie Blumberg, told The Spokesman that she was glad to see so many allies of the LGBT+ community, as the event was taking place on National Coming Out Day.
The Spokane counter-protests are the latest example of backlash against the WBC.
Last week, Absolut Vodka responded to a homophobic online attack from the WBC in the best way possible. The Swedish liquor brand unveiled its new bottle, which was printed with ink extracted by posters collected over the course of five months from hate rallies across various countries.
That ink, mixed with Absolut Vodka’s own, is now writing “love” in 16 different languages.