UPDATED: June 9, 2014 2:37 p.m.
WASHINGTON (WNEW/AP) — Hundreds of students, educators and community members turned out for a counter-protest against the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church at a District of Columbia high school Monday morning.
Both come in wake of the school’s second annual LGBT pride event last week, at which principal Pete Cahall surprisingly announced to the student body that he was gay.
Westboro’s protest was small — with a dozen or so people present — and took place across the street from the school. More than 2,000 Wilson High students and supporters were directly in front of the school building.
The Kansas-based church claims that tolerance of homosexuality invokes the wrath of God.
“You boast of being the first public high school in Washington, DC and perhaps the nation to host an ‘LBGTQ pride event’ when you should be hanging your heads in shame for such a thing,” the church posted on its website.
“You celebrate and glory in your sin. You say ‘You can’t hide tiger pride?’ and you’re right,” the post continued. “You are incapable of being ashamed of your sin.”
Members of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, who planned the counter-protest, say they received an overwhelming amount of support. About 400 people from the surrounding community showed up to the demonstration.
Cahall says the students “should be proud of themselves” for the turnout Monday morning.
Westboro member Rachel Hockenbarger called Cahall’s coming out “shameful.” The protest was one of several that Westboro had planned in Washington on Monday.
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