May 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Anti-gay church to target D.C. Pride parade
Westboro Baptist Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket next week’s Capital Pride Parade. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., which coined the slogan “God Hates Fags,” plans to set up a picket line at D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade on June 7 and plans to show up at Woodrow Wilson High School in Northwest Washington on June 9 to protest a Pride Day celebration at the school, according to a statement issued by the church.

The protests against the Capital Pride Parade and Wilson High School are among a dozen D.C.-area anti-gay protests planned by Westboro Church that include picketing outside the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the White House, the Pentagon and several churches.

“Westboro Baptist Church members will once again picket your fag pride parade to remind you that God Still Hates Fags, Fags Doom Nations and America is Doomed,” the church says in a statement posted on its website.

“God does not change no matter how much you parade your filth down main street demanding that your neighbors applaud you,” the statement says.

In a separate statement announcing its protest at Wilson High School, the church referred to the school’s students as “brats” and said they should answer the question, “Why did God destroy Sodom?” rather than organize an LGBT Pride event.

Gay D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania (D-At-Large), who chairs the Council’s Education Committee, released a statement on Wednesday expressing solidarity with Wilson High’s decision to hold a Pride event on June 4, five days before the Westboro protest is scheduled to take place.

“Today, I urge all District residents to stand with the students at Woodrow Wilson High School in support of tolerance and respect,” Catania said.

“Earlier this morning I spoke with Principal Pete Cahall and the faculty and students at Woodrow Wilson High School who are organizing the school’s Pride Day celebration to thank them for standing up for the values of acceptance and equality that define the District of Columbia,” he said.

In a separate statement, Capital Pride official Bernie Delia said he expects the Westboro Church protesters will be overshadowed by the large number of parade participants.

“With respect to the Capital Pride Parade, we will have more than 100,000 people from all corners of our community – LGBT and our straight allies – come together in a wonderful celebration of our diversity, acceptance, equality and freedom,” said Delia. “On the other hand, Westboro Baptist Church represents about 15 to 20 publicity-seeking malcontents who continue – unsuccessfully – to try to push their cramped view of the Bible onto the rest of us,” he said. “A majority of the country appears to agree that we are on the right side of history.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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