Hundreds Plan To Rally Against Westboro Baptist Church - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Hundreds Plan To Rally Against Westboro Baptist Church

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BOZEMAN -

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church will be in Bozeman Monday bringing their anti-gay message.

Many groups in Bozeman are organizing counter protests and rallies.

More than a hundred people plan to attend counter protests to the Westboro Baptist Church Monday at Montana State University and Bozeman High School.

The group said they will be protesting in Bozeman because local schools are not preparing students for the Day of Judgment and the community is receptive to homosexuality.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana is the latest group to announce efforts to counter the Westboro Baptist Church.

A.C.L.U. L.G.B.T. Activist Coordinator Liz Welch said they hope to counter the negativity usually associated with the Westboro Baptist Church.

"What we are trying to focus on is not the sideshow circus the Westboro Baptist Church is bringing to Bozeman, but actually all the really good work that is going on in the community that is positive for the L.G.B.T. community," said Welch.

The A.C.L.U. will hold a pre-protest meeting on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Labor Temple, a day before the Westboro Baptist Church gets to Bozeman.

"Teaching people how not to engage with them or to de-escalate the high tension that usually comes out of situations like this," said Welch. "We will be doing a sign event were people can make positive loving supporting signs."

The A.C.L.U. will be on Centennial Mall Monday holding its Rally for Inclusion.

There will be speakers there from Bozeman's faith community showing support for the L.G.B.T. community.

The A.C.L.U.'s Allied March of Support will start at M.S.U., through surrounding neighborhoods and ending at Cooper Park with an ice cream social.

Bozeman resident Layla Turman said events like these show Bozeman is made up with many different points of view.

"I think it shows we are a community with a lot of beliefs," said Turman. "They are welcome to come here and speak their minds and I'm glad we have people on both sides."

The A.C.L.U. said they don't plan for an official rally at the high school, but they know some members of the community will be there.

Other official groups organizing counter events are the Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus and the Associated Students of Montana State University.

The Westboro Baptist Church plans to hold protests Monday at M.S.U. at 2:30 before going to Bozeman High School at 3:15.

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