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Anti-gay group pickets Boston production of Laramie Project

by Zachary Violette
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Saturday Dec 13, 2008
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Pastor Fred Phelps and members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church came to Boston on Friday, where they picketed the Boston Center for the Arts current production of the Laramie Project, a play depicting reactions to the 1998 murder of openly-gay Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard.

Carrying signs reading "God is Your Enemy," and "America is Doomed," the Westboro protestors numbered less than ten, but included Shirley Phelps, daughter of Fred Phelps. "Matt is in Hell! Deal with it," the group said in a statement. "Just read Romans 1, and see him and you in those words, and finally this: Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have in them that do them."

Meanwhile, Pro-GLBT equality group Driving Equality held a counter-protest, dubbed a "Phelps-a-thon," which sought donations for every minute the Phelps protest continued.

Carrying signs reading "God is Your Enemy," and "America is Doomed," the Westboro protestors numbered less than ten, but included Shirley Phelps, daughter of Fred Phelps.

The group raised over $4600 for their efforts to organize a 85-day tour of the lower 48 states to raise awareness of GLBT-equality issues.

While the Westboro group sang parodies of traditional Christmas songs, the pro-GLBT protestors, aided by use of a megaphone, responded with a series of equality slogans, including "What do we want? Equal Rights. When do we want it? Now." And "Hate is not a Massachusetts value."

Every few minutes organizers would update a large cardboard sign displaying the tally of money raised and announce it the group across the street, singing "You’re Funny. You’re raising us money."

"The Phelps-A-Thon was a huge success," organizers said in a statement Saturday. "People walking by handed us $5, $10, $20 bills. Someone wrote a check for $250 on the spot. It was incredible!"

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