Westboro Baptist Church Plans To Picket Elizabeth Taylor's Funeral
The Twitter stream of Margie Phelps, legal adviser and de facto spokesperson for the small Kansas-based congregation, was littered on Wednesday with messages disparaging the late activist actress and stating plans for Westboro to demonstrate at her forthcoming funeral.
"No RIP Elizabeth Taylor who spent her life in adultery and enabling proud fags. They cuss her in hell today. #Westboro will picket funeral!" one tweet read.
Taylor was a renowned AIDS advocate and one of the first celebrities to tackle the issue during the height of the epidemic in the 1980s. She founded the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1985, which Time reports has raised over $100 million over 25 years.
The church, which recently won a Supreme Court case ruling that their type of inflammatory protest was protected by the First Amendment, has also notoriously coordinated rallies at the funerals of other public figures such as Elizabeth Edwards, Heath Ledger and Natasha Richardson.
According to TMZ Taylor's funeral will likely take place in Los Angeles.
Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), has released a statement on the stated plans to picket Taylor's funeral:
"[Founder of Westboro Baptist Church] Fred Phelps and his vitriolic anti-gay followers are simply trying to exploit their so-called 'faith' by spreading messages of hate at a time when Americans are grieving the loss of an extraordinary woman, actress and advocate," said Barrios. "Overwhelmingly, communities of faith are beginning to embrace lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender congregants and sending messages that promote equality for all. GLAAD is urging media to share Elizabeth Taylor's legacy with stories of hope and acceptance, and which highlight her life's work to create a world in which everyone is respected and valued for who they are."