Hundreds of people showed up today at the funeral of a Nashville Marine, but not to attend the service. Instead, they came to form a counter-protest to a group that has picketed thousands of military funerals across the country.
Twenty-seven-year-old Sergeant Kevin Balduf was killed in a fire fight in Afghanistan last month. The Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas fundamentalist group, came out to protest the funeral. Friends of the marine started an internet campaign to form a protective shield outside the funeral.
Earlier this spring, the US Supreme court ruled to uphold Westboro Baptist’s right to free speech, despite their bearing signs like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “God Hates Fags.”
Georgiana Grant, who heard about the demonstration on Facebook, said she came out to join the counter-protest.
“I personally don’t like it, and I don’t think it’s right. But I know they have their rights and we can’t stop them, but I think that by us coming out to show our support, that it says a lot.”
Mounted patrol officers divided the three Westboro Baptist members from the hundreds of motorcycle-revving and flag-waving counter-protesters across the road. The representatives from the small Westboro Baptist congregation packed up their signs and left after about ten minutes.