Church group protest triggers community response in Granite Bay

GRANITE BAY, Calif. - Dozens of demonstrators at Granite Bay High school turned out to fight a message of hate.

They decided to hold a protest of their own after hearing that the premiere of a play would be picketed by members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. That's the group that travels the country picketing funerals of soldiers and gay pride events.

A lone protester was photographed standing across from Granite Bay High School. Just after 2 P.M. Thursday, the protestor from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church came armed with messages of hate against gays. He said he's affiliated with the church and had driven up from San Diego, according to a school resource officer.

The church announced plans on twitter to picket after they heard that Granite Bay High School would debut its student theatre production of "The Laramie Project" this Thursday night. The play depicts the story of gay university student Matthew Shepard who was tied up to a fence post and killed back in 1998.

In response to the protester, nearly 100 people came out to Granite Bay High School to counter the message and defend the production and gay rights.

"I counter that with love and message of acceptance," said Kirsten Hendersen, a student activist.

"I was a little angry. At the same time, I was kind of amused because he was all by himself," said Aaron Blane.

Beverly Kearny, Love is Love Co-Founder said, "They often show show up. They also often make idle threats. We just thought it was important to give support to kids and to the community."

Organizers with the "Love is Love " group say if last night's demonstration helps one person, it was worth it.

Performances of "The Laramie Project" at Granite Bay High will run through next weekend.


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