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Anti-Gay Group to Protest High School Play
Location: York
Reporter: David Vagnoni
Posted: February 09, 2007 4:59 PM EST

York - A York County community is fighting back against a planned protest. At the center of the debate is a high school play.

The York Suburban High School Drama Club is putting on a production of "The Laramie Project." The play is based on the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student murdered in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998.

700 people attended the play at York Suburban Thursday night. Even more are expected Saturday night, when members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church will arrive for a protest.

The Westboro Baptist Church is an extremist organization that believes God hates gay people. The group often protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in the War on Terror, believing God is punishing the United States for its tolerance of gays.

"If they've taken notice of what you're doing, then obviously you're doing something important in the way of diversity and tolerance," said Alanna Berger of the group Silent Witnesses, who was in the audience for the Thursday night performance. Silent Witnesses plans to stand between the protesters and the public, encouraging the public not to interact with the protesters.

Westboro will also protest six York County churches this weekend, including Grace Fellowship. Westboro members have accused the church of lying about God and God's view of homosexuality.

Copyright 2007 Harrisburg Television, Inc.