By Brittney McKenna
The Westboro Baptist Church shows up at prominent funerals nationwide with its hateful anti-LGBT message, but a couple prominent wizards -- well, actors playing them -- have a message in return:
Let's back up a sec. Last month, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling tweeted her support for Ireland's marriage equality victory, and proposed a wedding between her elder wizard and J.R.R. Tolkien's:
This brought the wrath of the Westboro Baptist Church, which responded, "So @jk_rowling wants Dumbledore & Gandalf to marry in Ireland; if it happens, WBC will picket!" Rowling's supporters immediately came to her defense -- and they included Planting Peace, a Topeka nonprofit located across the street from Westboro's headquarters.
Planting Peace decided that merely tweeting at Westboro wasn't enough and called their bluff, planning a Dumbledore-Gandalf wedding for the ages -- with two actors playing the iconic wizards. Unfortunately not Sir Michael Gambon and Sir Ian McKellen, though Planting Peace volunteers Nicholas Orozco and Daryl Hendrix filled the roles:
Here they are, saying their vows:
The ceremony was attended by around 100 onlookers and raised money for aiding homeless LGBT youth and LGBT kids with little to no family support. “We are delighted to be hosting the Dumbledore and Gandalf wedding and stand with them in the face of bigotry and celebrate equality for all,” Planting Peace founder Aaron Jackson said in a public statement to the Irish Times.
The wedding didn't cast a strong enough spell to totally defeat the Westboro Baptist Church -- the Phelps family baked a three-tiered cake with an antigay message, the Daily Beast reports -- but it still went off without a hitch ... and, perhaps shockingly, without vocal interruption. "It took two wizards, apparently, to finally make the Westboro Baptist Church lose their voice," wrote reporter Randy R. Potts.
Even though the forces of prejudice may be as difficult to vanquish as Sauron's army, the words read by Gandalf after the ceremony were enough to drown out the hate for one day:
“Wether you are gay, lesbian, transgender, queer or questioning, we say this: You are loved!" Gandalf declared. "You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are valued. There’s nothing wrong with you. You are perfect, you are not alone, and you have a community of support -- that’s obvious. ... Love is love, all love is equal."