Dueling rallies at funerals for Orlando shooting victims
ORLANDO, FL (KTVU) - Representatives of an anti-gay group were heavily outnumbered Saturday, as they tried to protest outside the funerals of two Orlando shooting victims.
The demonstrators belonged to the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.
Their protest drew a large opposition of gay rights supporters, who vowed that the group would not disrupt the services.
Supporters included members of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, who built large white costumes, they dubbed "Angel Wings."
These activists then walked alongside the Westboro representatives, to form a barrier between Westboro and the Orlando funeral services.
Orlando Police were also on hand to make sure there that the dueling protests stayed peaceful.
Police later tweeted, "Westboro protesters have left the state & no plans to return.
Thank you to those who met protest with grace and love."
Westboro is a controversial faith-based group, that prides itself on demonstrating at high-profile memorials, including picketing at the 1998 funeral for Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming man who was beaten to death allegedly because he was homosexual.
Other demonstrations included a protest at the United States Holocause Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal organization advocating civil rights, considers Westboro, an extremist hate group.
Westboro said Saturday's demonstration was a call from the heavens, to denounce homosexuality.