DC students counter-protest Westboro Baptist Church

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The school day at Woodrow Wilson High School began with heavy police presence as students and community members staged their own counter protest to the Westboro Baptist Church.

With principal Pete Cahall, who just came out to students last week as a gay man, leading the charge and waving a rainbow flag, the crowd of more than a hundred cheered and chanted in support of 'Tiger Pride.'

"We are accepting of LGBTQ students, and that's what tiger pride is," said student Marla Solow.

Student Josh Kennedy-Noce was holding a sign that read "I have 2 moms and life is good."

"I'm here to support my parents because if it weren't for them I wouldn't be here," he said. "I was adopted from Russia so they truly saved me."

And in a much quieter and smaller demonstration, members of the Westboro Baptist Church held their own signs. "The principal of this school has no right to tell the students to sin," said one member. "Rather than celebrating your sexual perversion you ought to be fleeing your fleshly lust and war against your soul, that's what Jesus told you to do."

Jesse Lowery is a pastor of an United Church of Christ in Montgomery County and joined with other members of the UCC community in support of Wilson High.

"There are other kinds of religious people and other kinds of churches that preach love and respect of all families," said Pastor Lowery.

"Education breeds tolerance and hate breeds ignorance," added alumnus Carol Spigel.

"It's a shame in some ways that it takes students to tell adults how to treat people respectfully and lovingly," said Mayoral Candidate Muriel Bowser.

David Catania, who is also running for Mayor and is openly gay said, "When I was in high school we didn't include the LGBTQ community, and these students are insisting that 'we' as a term be expanded to include us all and I couldn't be prouder."

"I could not have imagined any of this happening in my wildest dreams," added principal Cahall.

The rallies were peaceful and lasted about an hour. Students and community members dispersed quietly and police escorted members of the Westboro Baptist Church from the area.

MORE: Principal comes out at Wilson Pride Day (http://on.wusa9.com/SrdPrl)


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