Orlando Shooting: ‘Angels’ Block Westboro Bigots

(“Angels” arrive on the scene to help block Westboro Baptist Church members from funerals for Orlando shooting victims)

The Westboro Baptist Church – a fringe, virulently bigoted and homophobic congregation based in Kansas – has made headlines throughout the years, picketing national tragedies in efforts to broadcast its hateful message.

Following the mass shooting in Orlando, it was safe to assume that the congregation would stage some form of action. The Pulse nightclub was popular with the local LGBTQ community, meaning that its clientele is one of the primary targets of the church’s animus.

But when the congregation showed up to protest funerals for the shooting victims, a number of community members and allies staged a massive counter rally in order to prevent the anti-LGBTQ protestors from reaching the mourners.

“Angels” from the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre donned large white wings to block Westboro members from view, while 200 people joined together to form a human chain.

This outpouring of love and humanity – significantly larger than the hate it stood opposite from – is a heartening display in the wake of tragedy, as well as a sign that the hate the precipitated the Orlando shooting has no place in our society.

Dems. Take Over Senate Floor in Push for Gun Control

In breaking news, Democrats have taken control of the Senate floor in a filibuster-style move designed to push the chamber to do something about the nation’s epidemic of gun violence.

You can watch the takeover live here.

Spearheaded by Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, this bold strategy emerges just days after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. At the Pulse nightclub – a popular gay bar in Orlando, Florida – a lone gunman killed 49 people using an AR-15. This particular assault rifle was also used in the Newtown shooting, which occurred in Senator Murphy’s home state in 2012, claiming the lives of 6 adults and 20 children.

Upon embarking on the floor takeover, Murphy remarked:

This is a different moment today than it was at the end of last week. There is a newfound imperative for this body to find a way to come together and take action, to try to do our part to stem this epidemic of gun violence and in particular this epidemic of mass shootings. There is a fundamental disconnect with the American people when these tragedies continue to occur and we just move forward with business as usual. So I’m going to remain on this floor until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together on these two measures, that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful bipartisan way.

As we discussed on The Tap earlier this week, congress had an opportunity to prevent this week’s massacre last year when a measure to ban weapon sales to suspected terrorists went before the legislature. Republicans tied the measure to legislation designed to repeal the Affordable Care Act in a deliberate torpedoing of even this moderate, widely supported gun control measure.

Corey Booker, Senator from New Jersey, has also taken the floor today in support of Murphy’s filibuster. “What we’re seeking is not radical,” Booker said this afternoon, “What we’re seeking is not something that is partisan. What we’re seeking is common sense.”

The Tap will continue to provide coverage on the fallout following the anti-LGBTQ massacre in Orlando and the ongoing debate on gun violence that is sweeping the nation.

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