Through the anti-gay picketing that he and his followers did across the country, including at military funerals, Fred Phelps caused untold amounts of heartache for individuals and brought shame on his state. He also inspired many new laws, as the federal government and states sought, with limited success, to curb the Westboro Baptist Church’s First Amendment right to spew its hate for homosexuals. But as the group Equality Kansas suggested this week, the best way to respond to Phelps’ death at age 84 is with respect for his survivors and their privacy – the opposite of what he showed gays and lesbians and grieving military families for so many years.
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