About a dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church were met by several hundred counter-protesters outside a northwest Washington high school Monday -- days after the school’s principal came out as gay to students during the Pride celebration that sparked the church’s protest plan.
Holding signs that read "We are Wilson High School" and "Love Always Wins," students from Wilson High School and other nearby schools lined the sidewalk outside of the school for a peaceful counter-protest. They were joined by another several hundred community members, who were stationed across the street.
Westboro, known for its public crusade against gay people at military funerals, said the school should be "hanging its head in shame" for hosting the event, writing on their website, "You say 'You can't hide tiger pride?' and you're right. You are incapable of being ashamed of your sin."
A handful of the church's members showed up for the protest, standing down the street from the counter-protest in front of the school.
D.C. Police were on hand to make sure the church members stayed away from students, and vice versa.
"We kind of took it together to be proud of who we are," said student Aiden Parisi, "and be happy that what we're doing is making an impact, that obviously this group has to come protest us."
"My announcement probably didn't lessen their enthusiasm to be here today, but we're all about acceptance, love and accepting people for who they are," Cahall said Monday.
Hundreds of community members also joined the students in their protest, running up and down the block with a rainbow flag and holding signs that read, "Love always wins."
Monday's protest is just one of 12 the church has planned in the D.C. area. The church also plans to protest outside the White House, the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery and other sites.