NATIONAL NEWS: Westboro Protesters Blocked in Orlando

Plus: Despite Orlando tragedy, thousands still showed up to support their regional gay prides this past weekend.

Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church picketed Penn Campus in 2009.

Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church picketed Penn Campus in 2009.

“Guardian angels” from the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre formed a human shield to block mourners from seeing Westboro Baptist Church protesters at funerals for victims.

On Saturday, more than 200 people formed a human chain around St. James Catholic Cathedral in Orlando as a peaceful response to anti-LGBTQ Westboro Baptist Church protesters outside. The controversial hate group was there to picket the funerals of victims who lost their lives in the June 12th mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub. Priests, bikers, and members from the LGBTQ community carried positive signs that counter-protested the hate speech from Westboro. Orlando Shakespeare Company members wore angel wings and joined many others in signing “Amazing Grace” as they carried signs that said “God is love” and “Orlando strong.” A similar counter-protest tactic was used against Westboro during the 1999 funeral for gay hate-crime victim Matthew Shepard.

Even though security was increased, attendance at gay pride events across America remained strong.

Despite last weekend’s Orlando mass shooting tragedy, the nation’s LGBTQ community and allies still showed up by the thousands at pride weekend festivities nationwide. Denver’s PrideFest on Sunday had 2,000 guests despite an overall increase in security measures. Portland Pride increased onsite security by 25 percent, while New Orleans held a press conference with more state troopers and Rhode Island upped the numbers of police and fire personnel. As a result, there were hardly any major crimes reported over the weekend, and most attendees were understanding and compliant with requests.