Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung has weighed in on the planned Thursday morning protest by members of Westboro Baptist Church in Cranston, saying he's "personally disturbed by the messages and tactics" of the church, but "must remind people that it is that organization's constitutionally protected right to free speech."
Church members said the protest is against Rhode Island's recently-passed gay marriage law and is planned to take place at Cranston City Hall at 869 Park Ave. at 8 a.m. The Cranston Police department will be at the scene to monitor the situation for any safety issues and "keep the peace if needed," Fung said.
"I encourage all parties involved to be respectful and to carry out their protests in a peaceful manner.”
It is likely that many Cranstonians and other area residents will be on hand to stage a counter-protest.
"These people are a total discrace to the Baptist religion," said Tiffany Frank-Lasalle on our Facebook page.
"What makes them think, we agree with their life or ways of worship?" asked Paula McFarland. "But do I go to their church and bring my signs to their door step? No, so my advice to them: stay home or you may not like what Cranston residents throw back at your glass house of worship!!"
Although the church has been known to not show up for planned protests, there are signs that they will follow through. Earlier on Twitter, the church tweeted pictures of their trademark "God Hates Fags" sign to the Twitter account run by Marriage Equality RI.
"We coming to c u 8/1/13," the church tweeted.
Do you plan on attending the protest? Let us know.