TOPEKA, Kan. Members of Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church are known for picketing the funerals of U.S. troops, but around 400 people targeted the church in a Sunday protest of their own.
Organizers said the event drew marchers touting messages of compassion and tolerance for gays and lesbians. Westboro Baptist is known for its anti-gay message and picketing of services for troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gay, straight and transgender demonstrators hugged, danced and cheered as passers-by honked their support for the protest at Gage Park in Topeka.
Organizer Chris Love of Leavenworth said he got the idea for the march after Westboro members picketed actor Heath Ledger's memorial service.
"It's about time we did something like this again," said Hope Prescott of Topeka, who waved a rainbow banner.
"We feel somewhat responsible for ... Westboro Baptist Church. It's about time we show our support for gays rights and all rights."