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Watch: Westboro Baptist Church Pickets Gay Football Player, Mo. High Students Counter Protest

Wednesday Mar 14, 2018
Jake Bain speaks with Fox 2
Jake Bain speaks with Fox 2  (Source:Screen shot via Fox 2)

Members of the vehemently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, known for its slogan "God hates fags," picketed a Missouri high school Monday over a gay student and football player who made national news for coming out last year. The hate group, however, bumped up against a larger counter-protest launched by students who showed support for the athlete, Fox 2 reports.

Supporters for John Burroughs School student Jake Bain held rainbow flags and played music to drown out the hate speech coming from WBC members. The students avoided clashing and engaging with the hate group during the protest and used the moment to celebrate the LGBTQ community and diversity in their community.

"Just to know that I have all that love and support from so many people is just really cool," Bain, who came out last year, told Fox 2. "We've had a lot of videos inside from alumni that have showed their support, and we've had our own little Pride Parade inside."

The roads around the Laude, Mo. school were closed for about two hours during the event, police told Fox 2, and officers were at the scene.

"The fact that there's people that I've never even met or made connections with that are willing to come out here in the cold and show their support for me and my whole community is just really special," Bain told the news station.

The head of John Burroughs School, Andy Abbot, said Bain "is a great athlete but he's a better kid."

"He's a great student. He's a great friend to his peers," he added.

Organizers of Pride St. Louis denounced the WBC's picket.

"We started with a statement of support, and then we said, 'We can do more,'" Landon Brownfield of Pride St. Louis told Fox 2.

The WBC announced its plans to picket the high school in a Feb. 24 press release, allowing students to plan a counter-protest. Before the picket, Pride St. Louis launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #StandWithJake to support Bain.

"From the beginning, I wanted to just be myself. And I wanted to show people around St. Louis and everywhere else that you can be whoever you want to be," Bain told Fox 2 ahead of the protest. "I was able to really realize that if this international hate group is coming after me and my community then we must be doing something right."

Watch footage and interviews from the protest from Fox 2 below.


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