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Church Distances Itself from Hate Group on Gay Marriage

In The Rhode Island Catholic newspaper: an extraordinary effort by the church and the state's leading anti-gay marriage group, the National Organization for Marriage - Rhode Island, to distance themselves from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which plans to demonstrate in Rhode Island this weekend.

The group has spewed hatred against gays, Jews and Catholics. And the piece in The Rhode Island Catholic includes lengthy statements from Bishop Tobin, the Catholic church's lobbyist Father Bernard A. Healey, and Christopher Plante of NOMRI condemning the organization.

"While the First Amendment allows diverse opinions to be voiced in America, the National Organization for Marriage — Rhode Island could not be more appalled at the views spewed by Fred Phelps Sr. The vile hatred of this self-appointed demagogue is an aberration limited to his own cult-like family of followers and has nothing to do with the principled arguments of the National Organization for Marriage— Rhode Island," stated Plante in an e-mail to the Rhode Island Catholic.

"The media loves Fred Phelps because he fits their image of pro-marriage people — but nothing could be further from the truth. The people of Rhode Island reject Fred Phelps. At the same time, they also support marriage as the union of husband and wife," stated Plante.

With polling showing increasing support for gay marriage in Rhode Island, opponents are pushing hard to maintain a moderate sheen.

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