US: Pro-gay group counters God Hates Fags church’s plans to picket Robin Williams funeral

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A pro-gay group has raised over $40,000 for one of Robin Williams’ favourite charities, after the Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to protest his funeral.

The Topeka-based anti-gay church, known for their ‘God Hates Fags’ banners, announced earlier this week that they would picket any memorial for the actor, who starred as a gay man in The Birdcage and cross-dressed in Mrs Doubtfire.

The group labelled him a “fag pimp” and a “fag enabler”, and posting pictures on Twitter of “Robin in hell”.

However, Planting Peace, a group that last year set up a Pride-themed Equality House opposite the church, is attempting to overshadow the message of hate with one of love, by raising money for one of the actor’s chosen charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The group’s co-founder Aaron Jackson told Huffington Post: “When the WBC announced they were protesting Robin’s funeral, we felt like launching a fundraiser for a charity Robin loved would be the perfect way to honour him and counteract the message of hate and intolerance that the WBC continues to convey.

“Robin Williams played many different roles in so many people’s lives, and giving back to others was at the top of that list.”

The group’s Crowdrise campaign has so far raised over $40,000 (£24,000) for the hospital.

A statement said: “Our neighbours at the Westboro Baptist Church have announced their intention to protest the funeral of Robin Williams.

“In keeping with our philosophy of addressing acts of hate and intolerance with compassion and love, we are inviting the public to show their respect and support of a man who spent his life making others smile, who was always there for others in their time of need, and who supported the greater good through works of service and charity.

“Please join Planting Peace in counteracting the WBC’s message of hate through a fundraising event benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a cause Mr. Williams passionately and publicly supported.”