07/22/2011 10:07 am ET Updated Sep 21, 2011

Westboro Baptist Church To Protest Marriage Equality In New York On First Day Of Gay Marriages

Westboro Baptist Church, the group from Topeka, Kan. known for picketing the funerals of slain American soldiers as well as many other events, has announced they will be in New York City over the weekend to protest marriage equality in the state.

The group's protest comes as the local government prepares to grant an unprecedented number of marriage licenses for Sunday, the first day that marriages are available to same-sex couples, and the following days. After the New York State Legislature's passing of marriage equality in late June, more than 2,500 couples have preregistered for licenses to marry after the law goes into effect, necessitating the city to hold a lottery for those wishing to be married on Sunday.

The WBC protests on Sunday will take place at several sites, including the City Marriage Bureaus in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, Governor Andrew Cuomo's local office and the Gracie Mansion, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to personally officiate the wedding of two staffers.

Westboro Baptist Church, led by Pastor Fred Phelps, has most recently drawn the ire of the American public for protesting the funerals of such public figures as former first lady Betty Ford, television personality Ryan Dunn, Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor and the victims of the Arizona shooting that severely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.