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