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Westboro Draws Out Hundreds Of UC Counterprotestors

Ann Thompson
In a fenced off area five Westboro demonstrators are surrounded by hundreds of UC students at the corner of Clifton Ave. and Martin Luther King Wednesday afternoon.

Westboro Baptist Church, known for its messages against the LGBTQ community and others, turned its attention to Cincinnati Wednesday with demonstrations at Oak Hills High School, The University of Cincinnati, and the Duke Energy Convention Center.

At the corner of Clifton Avenue and Martin Luther King on UC's campus, hundreds of counterprotestors surrounded five Westboro members shouting "leave," and "love trumps hate." Lavonne Heisser was in the crowd and says "God doesn't hate anyone."

According to Heisser, "It's just not right. We come to an institution to feel open and accepted and be ourselves and for certain people to feel like they are being targeted, it's just crazy."

UC student and Kentucky resident Andrew Smith carried a sign that read, "No Hate In My Holler."

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
The demonstration, which lasted less than 30 minutes, remained peaceful.

Police had a visible presence to make sure the demonstration was peaceful. Elizabeth Kennedy went to the fenced-in area where the Westboro people were standing. She's with the Human Rights Campaign and says, "Love will win and everyone is equal. Why can't everyone just be kind?"

One of the Westboro members talked to reporters. Sam Phelps-Roper says he wasn't bothered by the large number of counterprotestors. "These are the people we came to preach to. Every one of the people read these words. That was our only goal."

He wants people punished who don't believe what he does and said this:

Westboro's Sam Phelps-Roper says sinners are getting what they deserve.

Westboro demonstrators left about a half hour after they came to UC.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.