Westboro Baptist Church, a group highly infamous for its radical stance against homosexuality and protest activities, announced its plan to picket the New York City's Gay Pride March on Sunday, June 26.
Right after the tragic death of Ryan Dunn on June 20, the group said in a statement, WBC will picket any public memorial/funeral held for Dunn, warning all not to make a mock of sin, & to fear & obey God. The headlines of the statement read: Ryan Dunn is in hell!
While their protest was expected at the funeral of Dunn, a private memorial service for the Jackass star was held in peace and without disturbance.
However, Westboro would not miss the next target, especially due to its impact on the gay rights movement.
On June 24, the historic vote on the same-sex marriage bill in New York was passed by a narrow margin of 33 to 29, making New York the sixth and most populous state to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.
The next day, Westboro released a statement that reads:
As @NYGovCuomo pushed fag marriage, hundreds (including media) called on #Westboro for an appearance at this Fag Death March. Thank God for September 11! God gave you an opportunity to repent, but you're not hearing the rod, NY. Stay tuned for an ear-tingling GodSmack that'll make 9/11 look like a game of Tiddlywinks.
The extremist group, based in Topeka, Kansas, said it would stage its protest at the NYC Pride March's route at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, when the event will start.
New York City's Pride March 2011 marks the first time the event is held where same-sex marriage is legalized.
The Pride March began in 1970 as a commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, according to its website.
The March has since grown to become the oldest and one of the world's largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) events. This year's Pride March will begin at 12:00 noon on Sunday June 26th. Step-off for more than 350 groups and 500,000 participants will take place on 36thStreet and Fifth Avenue.
WBC the hate group
The Westboro Baptist Church is an independent Baptist church headed by Fred Phelps and consists mostly of members of his large family. Phelps is a disbarred lawyer, and a past civil rights activist in Kansas. The church often pickets gay pride gatherings, military funerals, high-profile political gatherings, and even mainstream Christian gatherings and concerts.
The church is built around a core of anti-homosexual theology, represented in the slogan God hates fags.
Phelps has a history of arrests and travel restrictions, as well as a number of lawsuits filed against WBC.
Many Christian churches have publicly separated themselves from the group, which has made national headlines for their controversial protests outside U.S. soldiers' funerals.
Their view of the soldiers' death is a punishment from God for America for its tolerance of homosexuality. God hates America, some protest signs in the past read.
The church is widely described as a hate group and is monitored by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.
The group said in the statement,
Beast President @BarackObama will soon join this voice against God. You've made this your throw-down issue, Doomed America!