ORLANDO, Fla., June 17 (UPI) -- Orlando's gay community is reaching out for help to block Westboro Baptist Church members from protesting the ongoing funerals of Pulse nightclub shooting victims on Saturday.
Terry DeCarlo, executive director of GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, said the extremist group, infamous for inflammatory demonstrations, applied for a permit to protest in front of The Cathedral Church of Saint Luke, where some Pulse victims' funerals will take place on Saturday.
Some 30,000 people have joined the Facebook group, Human Chain Link for Pulse Funerals. DeCarlo said the GLBT group was granted a permit for a counter protest.
"I'm not surprised evil reared its ugly head," DeCarlo said. "We'll make sure they are not heard."
Westboro spokesman Steve Drain of Topeka, Kan., said the group plans to protest from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.
"It's not about that person, it's about that whole societal phenomenon," Drain said. "It's never been OK to be gay and it's never going to be OK to be gay, no matter how much the spirit of the times calls for the popularity of that sin."
The protest comes amid the ongoing funerals and burials, including at the 100-acre city-owned Greenwood Cemetery in Orlando, which is providing a special location where all 49 victims can be buried.