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First funerals for Orlando victims take place as Westboro Baptist Church promise to picket

By Umar Sarwar

After last Sunday’s shooting in Pulse nightclub, Orlando, funerals are starting to take place for the 49 people who tragically lost their lives.

The family of Kimberly ‘KJ’ Morris, a bouncer at Pulse, held a funeral service at Osceola Memory Gardens Funeral Home on Thursday (June 16) where they said she will always be remembered for her “big, bright smile.”

Many of her friends and family spoke about Kimberly during the service. One was her friend Chalice, who also worked at Pulse.

“I want you guys to know the last time I saw [KJ], she was smiling and laughing and enjoying life”, she said.


Not too far away from where the funeral was taking place, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo’s family held a viewing for Luis. Lots of family and friends showed up to pay their respects.

His brother, Berto, who is also gay, said: “We had so much fun this year. I am so happy I got to experience that with him.”

Dishearteningly, a representative for the Christian fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church told USA Today that they plan to picket two of the victims’ funerals this Saturday (June 18).

Westboro spokesman Steve Drain said: “It’s not about that person, it’s about that whole societal phenomenon. It’s never been OK to be gay and it’s never going to be OK to be gay, no matter how much the spirit of the times calls for the popularity of that sin.”

Westboro members are known for protesting at funerals for gay and lesbian people as they say it stipulates in the bible the LGBT lifestyle is a sin.

Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, told Orlando Sentinel that people ere planning to block the church from getting near the funeral.

“We’ll make sure they are not heard,” he said.

Our thoughts still go out to the families and friends of the 49 people who lost their lives.

Words: Darren Mew

Read more here:
Orlando gay club shooting: The victims
London comes together to remember the victims