On Sunday, antigay activists rallied at Grace Christian Church in Houston promoting an effort to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in a way only Christian extremists can: With lofty rhetoric of pastors, politicians, reality TV stars, and children proudly promising to "refuse service to homosexuals."
Initially positioned as a rally to support five Houston pastors who the city had subpoenaed to testify in a lawsuit challenging the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, the event's tone shifted after Houston mayor Annise Parker withdrew those subpoenas last month. Instead, as David Badash at the New Civil Rights Movement notes, the event "turned into an antigay hate rally, sponsored by the antigay hate group, Family Research Council."
Attendees and supporters at the rally created the hashtag #IStandSunday to use on Twitter and social media, but before long, LGBT activists had hijacked the hashtag to stump for equality and call out antigay bigotry and hypocrisy.
Nevertheless, the event featured right-wing heroes and antigay celebrities, including would-be HGTV reality stars David and Jason Benham.
David graciously shared this photo of some of the high-profile haters:
And let's not forget that all "religious freedom" rallies should be a family affair.
It wasn't long before LGBT activists took to Twitter and changed #IStandSunday into a pro-equality campaign:
Some used historical photos and references to point out the drastic nature of utilizing children to spread the message of discrimination:
Some LGBT activists utilized the social media website to showcase the outlandish and hateful things said by some of the event's most highly anticipated guests.
Attendees still wanting to repeal the HERO made it known that they feel an unjust attack on their fundamental rights:
While many Christians stood up for equality and dismissed the antigay notions of the extremists:
The event drew responses from other antigay celebrities like 19 Kids and Counting star Josh Duggar.
After some time, users supporting the original antigay intent of the Twitter thread took aim at the LGBT users who were redefining #IStandSunday, hurling angry, hate-filled tweets.
Despite the viciousness of anti-equality tweets, LGBT activists continued to fight back using humor:
Some LGBT supporters even generously offered a sartorial history lesson for the self-proclaimed Christians who are opposed to LGBT equality: