When notorious anti-gay organization Westboro Baptist Church attempted to stage a protest at the funeral of an Orlando shooting victim, the community did something amazing to stop them.
Residents dressed as guardian angels with enormous white wings to block the Westboro protestors from Christopher Leinonen’s funeral.
200 Orlando people, some of whom didn’t even know the victim, turned up to show their support for the LGBTQ community in angel costumes made by Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s costume department.
“I think our presence here is just to show support for the families of the victims and we want to make sure that we’re an ally,” said one “angel”, Suzanne Draper.
At Orlando counter-protest, angels wearing large wings ensure Westboro protesters don’t disrupt the funeral proper. pic.twitter.com/QLBZyDrj1F
— David Hand (@Ptolemarch) June 18, 2016
Another demonstrator, Wesley Wizner, joined the crowd with an enormous rainbow screen to prevent the Westboro protesters reaching the funeral.
“We originally made it as large as possible because we didn’t know the location, we wanted to make sure we could block [the Westboro Baptist Church] signs.”
“We just intended to make sure we were showing as much support as possible and [the anti-gay protestors] were running into as large of an opposition as we could create.”
When Orlando Police Department arrived to escort the Westboro protestors away, the crowd cheered and chanted, “OPD, OPD!”.
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) June 18, 2016
Whatever your views, any funeral deserves respect — these guardian angels did an amazing job.