Westboro protest fizzles at West Point

March 1, 2013 at 2:22 AM
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HIGHLAND FALLS, N.Y., March 1 (UPI) -- Westboro Baptist Church demonstrators failed to make much of an impression at the West Point, N.Y., funeral for Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, witnesses said.

The chants of the Westboro members, known for protesting at military funerals because they believe the military supports gays and lesbians, were largely drowned out by counter-protesters from advocacy group Rolling Thunder, News 12 Hudson Valley reported.

"We're here to make a memory and they have to ruin it with all that noise," counter-protestor Barbara Weissman said. "It's a shame."

The uneventful protest lasted about 20 minutes.

Counter-protesters also outnumbered Westboro members at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, where Pastor Joseph Tolton delivered a keynote address during a celebration of tolerance and acceptance at the school, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

"Your sexuality and gender identification are not burdens, they are blessings," Tolton said.

Students and residents cheered when the Westboro members were removed from the premises.

"I think it's exactly what we need," said Darren Dickson, 21. "This is my community and I don't want these people polluting our minds."

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