In Missouri on the morning of March 12, protesters and counter-protesters met outside a high school after one of the school’s star football players came out as gay.
On one side, members of Westboro Baptist Church picketed John Burroughs School, a private and non-sectarian prep school in Ladue, Mo., over student-athlete Jake Bain. The group announced in a February 24 press release to picket the school and the openly gay star running back and team captain, whom they call a “smirking, proud fag child,” Huffington Post reported.
“This beast is vaunted as the best thing that has happened to football since Knute Rockne,” the WBC’s statement read. “In fact, in the wake of this football playing fag phenomenon, Knute is just a proverbial water boy.”
In the counter-protest, 200+ students of John Burroughs went on a unity walk to the football and field hockey fields and then to the gym for a celebration of Jake and his decision and his dedication.
Additionally, Pride St. Louis, a nonprofit focused on improving the well-being of the Missouri LGBTQIA community, rallied behind the counter-protest organized by students at the prep school. At the protest, over 100 Ladue citizens came out in support of Bain, outnumbering the Westboro crowd by spades, reported Nylon magazine.
“This is what the majority of the world believes is love for everybody,” one Bain supporter told local affiliate ABC News 6.
“He’s such a special young man. I’m so happy people are recognizing [it]. We are happy the way he’s handling himself,” said Jim Lemen, another supporter.
Bain was recently honored as the “Hometown Hero” at Pride Night for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.
He is geared up to attend Indiana State University in the fall to play football.