As Erin Cox and Alison Knezevich report for the Baltimore Sun, Maryland’s new same-sex marriage law went into effect at the start of the New Year, and last week on Wednesday the courthouses opened their doors to perform wedding ceremonies.
But waiting outside those doors in Annapolis and Towson were members of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Westboro Baptist has made itself famous as perhaps the nation’s most reviled religious organization in recent memory, having picketed the funerals of everyone from U.S. service members killed in action to pop stars like Michael Jackson, in furtherance of its anti-gay message.
In response to Westboro Baptist’s picket on Jan. 2, Cox and Knezevich report that more than 250 people came out as counter-protesters. Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen said: “When people came to our city to preach hate, we stood up to them. It was a beautiful scene.”
For its part, Westboro Baptist said that it came to Maryland to protest because it was “the first state to vote in Same-Sex Marriage.”