Donning T-shirts advertising godhatesamerica.com and holding their offensive signs, about 20 members of the Westboro Baptist Church
spewed anti-gay blather outside Grant High School
in northeast Portland
About a couple hundred counter-demonstrators showed up in what's become the usual drill for the Topeka-based outfit founded by Fred Phelps to protest against homosexuals, or as its website says, “soul-damning, nation-destroying filth.” (The hate group said it chose Grant for its most recent stomping grounds because it is filled with “brute beasts who are good for absolutely nothing.”)
Most of the counter-demonstrators were students at Grant and other area high schools. They amassed on both sides of Northeast 36th
Avenue with a hodgepodge of neon signage and rainbow flags. They shouted “Two, four, six,eight ... How do you know your kids are straight?”
, a pro-civil rights organization that uses Westboro pickets to raise money for the local LGBT community, Justin Kertson armed himself with a large rainbow flag and roamed today's demonstration to raise money for Grant's Gay-Straight Alliance.
“We turn their negativity against them in a positive way,” Kertson said, who added that he and others with Phelps-A-Thon were hoping to break $1000 in donations this morning.
Sporting a sign quoting the Oscar speech of Milk
screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Mackenzie Bean said she was there to support Grant's gay teens.
“I was hoping to show the gay teenagers at this high school that not everyone hates you,” the 19-year-old Portland Community College student said. “I just wanted to be a part of the support system.”
Tiffany Stoneman, boasting the words “God loves laughter” on her sign (photo above), came to the demonstration for similar reasons.
“I think to throw hate at our children is deeply disturbed,” she said. “The only counter message is love and respect.”