Westboro Baptist Church members have two pickets planned for today in the Hudson Valley - one on each side of the Hudson River. The anti-gay Church established by Pastor Fred Phelps is known for its pickets of military funerals and liberal-arts colleges.
The Kansas-based Church members say their first picket will begin at 11:30 a.m., to protest the funeral service for General Norman Schwarzkopf at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Schwarzkopf died in Florida in December. The picketers will then head to Vassar College, in the Town of Poughkeepsie, though will not be permitted on campus. Vassar’s response began earlier this month. Students formed “Do Something VC”, a group that encourages inclusion and raising funds for social-justice efforts. In addition, a Vassar alumnus started a fundraiser for the Trevor Project, which provides suicide-prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Vassar has held counter-protest events on campus all week, and during Westboro’s planned picket, Vassar will hold a campus gathering with student speakers. Westboro Church members say God Hates Vassar College for professing the soul-damning lie that it is "OK to be gay."