Anti-Lesbian and Gay Church Targets Maine, Vermont
The inflammatory Westboro Baptist Church visited Maine this past weekend, and plans to visit Vermont and New Hampshire in the next few days, says the Boston Globe. Westboro Baptist Church members, with the infamous Rev. Fred Phelps, traveled to Kennebunk Maine, picketing outside several churches who supported the recent ballot measure to extend anti-discrimination protection to lesbians and gays. The ballot measure failed by a narrow margin. The group plans to picket in Montpelier, Vermont, today to register their opposition to the state’s same-sex civil union law. The group will then move on to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire to protest the school’s June announcement allowing lesbian and gay couples to serve as live-in advisors in its dormitories.
The Westboro Baptist Church is best known for its “God Hates Fags” picket signs, and for protesting outside the funerals of gay and lesbian individuals, including murdered University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. In Kennebunk, the group faced a counterprotest of local individuals holding signs reading “Zealots Go Home.” Westboro Baptist Church, located in Topeka, Kansas, is not officially affiliated with any denomination. Even the Southern Baptist Convention, which is openly anti-gay, has disassociated itself from Westboro and its leader Phelps.
Media Resources: Boston Globe - November 20, 2000 and US Feminist Daily Newswire June 12, 2000 and November 8, 2000 and Southern Baptist Convention Press Release May 17, 1999
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SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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