When Tea Party activists gathered in Boston yesterday afternoon, they weren’t given license to shout their Small Government slogans at disinterested passersby—liberal activists of all stripes showed up to shout them down.
Who doesn’t love a good counter-protest?
The rally was led by the notoriously anti-gay missionary Scott Lively, who has spread his brand of dangerous homophobia in Uganda and other parts of Africa. (He’s even being sued for it, thank the good gay-friendly god.)
Don Gorton, a board member of gay-rights advocacy org Join the Impact’s Mass. branch, reported live to us:
A crowd of approximately 75 tea party activists gathered round the bandstand on the Common to hear speakers representing groups like “Show ID to Vote,” “Newsbusters” and the Mass. Republican Assembly. From the outset about 20 protestors from Join the Impact MA stood along the edge of the surrounding sidewalk quietly holding signs condemning Scott Lively and Brian Camenker for their homophobic advocacy.
Everything was going according to Tea-Party plan, but! Have no fear, Occupy Wall Street is here!
Just before Lively’s and Camenker’s turns at the podium came, roughly 100 exuberant protestors from the Occupy movement charged onto the scene chanting loudly and waving signs. The din became an uproar as Lively took the microphone. In his speech, Lively blasted conservatives who would minimize the importance of social issues. Then he denounced LGBT rights activists as “fascists” who were intent on destroying civilization. Camenker met with similar pushback as he criticized the work of GLSEN for allegedly promoting homosexual recruitment of public school students—in reference to the group’s efforts to prevent anti-LGBT bullying. Lively and Camenker were loudly booed, and much of their speech-making was drowned out by Occupy chants and “mic check” counterpoint.
Not all counter-protestors joined the chanting. I argued that Lively and Camenker should be allowed to speak, both out of respect for freedom of expression and because they tend to discredit the opposition to LGBT equality when their extremist views are publicized. Yet the passions these two hate group leaders stir are difficult to contain. Tea Party organizers learned that giving a platform to anti-gay bigotry effectively drowns out any other message they may seek to propagate. The Boston Police kept the peace while allowing everyone an opportunity to be heard. By the time anti-government activist Carla Howell took the podium after Camenker, most of the “tea party” attendees had frittered away, the momentum of the rally dissipated.
Right on. Totally radical. Now can Scott Lively be convicted for inciting anti-gay violence in Uganda already too? This dude practically inspired the “Kill The Gays” bill.
Photo via Paul Weiskel