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Gay Supporters Outnumber Phelps Clan In Flag Protest


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Gay Supporters Outnumber Phelps Clan In Flag Protest

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

August 28, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(Meade, Kansas) If followers of anti-gay pastor Fred Phelps thought they were going to find support in tiny Meade, Kansas they were mistaken. The militant group demonstrated across the street Sunday from a small hotel that stirred up a local hornets nest when it displayed a rainbow flag.

About 30 of Phelp's followers, mostly relatives, held signs saying "God Hates Fags", and "AIDS is God's curse."

Not far away a crowd nearly double in size help up their own signs. "God Loves Fags" read one sign. "Go home" read another.

The flag flap began earlier this summer when the son of J.R. and Robin Knight presented them with the colorful flag he'd picked up in California. The Knights put the flag over the entrance to their tiny Lakeway Hotel.

For some in the community the rainbow was like putting a red flag in front of a charging bull.

As controversy over the flag grew it mysteriously disappeared. The Knights were not about to be cowed, telling the local newspaper they were not giving in to intolerance and would replace the flag - and keep doing so for as long flags disappeared.

Then a brick was hurled through the hotel's front window.

Two weeks ago two local boys admitted to taking the flag as a prank. (story) Their father brought them to the hotel to apologize to the Knights.

But the controversy led the Phelps clan to leave their Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka to stage a protest they believed would generate widespread local support for their anti-gay ministry.

"Today God has cursed this nation," said Shirley Phelps Roper who led the protest.

"I just want to put a stop to it because Meade is a nice, quiet town," Matt Hensley, a 10th-grader who joined the counter protest told the Hutchinson News.

As the two sides demonstrated the Knights pumped up the music. The couple put stereo speakers in the front window of the hotel and played the Village People hits like "Macho Man".

Until now the small farming hamlet was known only as the home of the Dalton Gang Museum.

©365Gay.com 2006


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