Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Keith Orr

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Keith Orr

Article excerpt

Sparked a national trend by turning a Fred Phelps protest into a gay fund-raiser

Most gay men and lesbians greet the news that notorious homophobe Fred Phelps is coming to their town with chagrin or a protest or both. But when Keith Orr, co-owner of the Aut Bar in Ann Arbor, Mich., discovered his establishment was about to be the target of a Phelps demonstration, he found an ingenious way to fight back. Orr sent out 270 E-mails to friends and acquaintances, announcing that he intended to pledge $1 for every minute the Topeka, Kan., religious zealot protested in front of the bar. He encouraged others to make some kind of pledge too. Any money collected would go to a local gay and lesbian community group. By the time Phelps and his cronies packed up, Orr had collected $7,500 for the town's gay and lesbian community center.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, word of Orr's clever plan spread quickly, and now lesbian and gay organizations across the country are cashing in on Phelps sightings. …

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