VIDEO: Positive demonstration by Buffalo Grove High School students at Arlington Heights Road and Dundee Road, and an interview with Olivia Kolak — a Buffalo Grove High School senior and member of Gay Straight Alliance (GSA).
There was a lot of positive energy Saturday night on the northeast corner of Arlington Heights Road and Dundee Road. That’s where Buffalo Grove High School students and some parents were supporting the right to show the Laramie Project play inside Buffalo Grove High School behind them. Drivers of cars and trucks honked their horns as they passed by in support of the students. Many signs purported that ‘God Loves Gays’ while liberal activist and atheist Rob Sherman showed his support by passing by in the “Rob Sherman News” truck with the horn honking.
The Gay Straight Alliance Club from John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, and members of the Illinois Safe School Alliance at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, joined the demonstration in support of the Buffalo Grove High School’s Gay Straight Alliance Club.
There was no counter-demonstration (just positive rounds of cheering by BGHS students) because no demonstrators from the Westboro Baptist Church showed. They announced plans to protest the Laramie Project for about 45 minutes before the start of the play.
The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas issued a press release October 14 announcing plans to picket prior to the play’s opening curtain at 7:30 p.m. The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is an independent Baptist church and hate group led by Fred Phelps, founder.
The group is known for protests against gays, military soldiers, Jews and other groups the church’s leader believes have been condemned by an angry God. Church members are known for picketing U.S. soldiers’ funerals, whose deaths — the church members say — are evidence of God’s wrath against a sinful, disobedient nation. The group is peaceful, but their comments and signs can evoke an emotional response. Extra police were at the site of the demonstration, which ended except for a few individuals supporting the Laramie Project play, who carried on their demonstration in the rain.
The last time WBC planned a protest in the area in Arlington Heights, they did not show. A protest group from the Westboro Baptist Church had planned to demonstrate at the funeral of U.S. Army soldier Will Newgard at St. James Church on Arlington Heights Road on January 15, 2007, but winter weather grounded their flight and prevented their arrival at O’Hare International Airport in time for the funeral. Will Newgard was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq on December 29, 2006.
Signs seen …
God Doesn’t Hate or Discriminate
God Love LGBT
IF GOD HATES FAGS, WHY DID HE MAKE ME SO PRETTY
Love is Equality
God Love Me!
Equality for Everyone
Don’t use me to justify your hatred — God
No Gay Shame
No More Hate
Love all the People
Yay for Gay