ANTI-GAY protestors are threatening to picket a performance of a play by a youth group which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Basingstoke.

Freedom Youth is putting on a production of The Laramie Project – a play about an American youth murdered because of his sexuality – at Central Studio at Queen Mary’s College.

But an extremist church group from America – Westboro Baptist Church – has announced that its members are to demonstrate before the final performance of the show on Friday night.

Westboro’s core belief is that God will punish the West for its acceptance of homosexuality and its members have previously picketed servicemen’s funerals in America with outrageous placards such as “Thank God for dead Soldiers” and “God hates America”.

Basingstoke MP Maria Miller has condemned the planned pickets and said: “‘The Laramie Project’ is a serious play with a serious message. It is completely unacceptable for Westboro Baptist Church or any other organisation to incite homophobic hatred in this way.

“There is no room for this type of intimidation in our community.”

Peter Edney, media and corporate communications officer for the north and east Hampshire operational command unit confirmed that Hampshire Constabulary is aware of the planned action.

He added: “Officers are carefully monitoring the situation and working to minimise any disruption to the local community.”

Freedom Youth group meets weekly and aims to provide a safe environment for young LGBT people to meet and explore how they feel by taking part in workshops, activities and trips that are relevant to their lives.

For more on this story see your Thursday Gazette.

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