Hundreds of students attended a counter protest against the Westboro Baptist Church, who condemned rising football star Jake Bain for coming out as gay.
Bain, of John Burroughs School, Missouri, came out last year to widespread support from his fellow students.
The right wing, anti-gay group planned to protest against the sports star and were met with opposition.
The extremist group’s website labelled him a ‘smirking, proud fag child’.
The group explained that their reason for picketing was to prevent ‘Satan’s agenda of planting pride across the land’.
Students gathered ‘in their hundreds’ against Westboro Baptist Church
However Westboro was once again met by students on Monday 12 March in support of Jake.
— Rebecca Rivas (@Rebeccarivas) March 12, 2018
‘To know that I have all that love and support from so many people is just really cool,’ Jake said to Fox 2 Now.
‘We’ve had a lot of videos inside from alumni that have showed their support.
‘The fact that there’s people that I’ve never even met or made connections with that are willing to come out here in the cold and show their support for me.’
— SkyWheelMyrtleBeach (@SkyWheelMB) March 12, 2018
Supporters took to Twitter, with Myrtle Beach’s Sky Wheel lighting up in support of the rising star.
‘We are proud to standwithjake as we light the sky in rainbow!’
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart to all who came to support the LGBTQ+ community at Burroughs this morning. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -MLK. Thank you all for shining your lights today.
— Jake Bain (@jakebain17) March 12, 2018
Following the day of support, Jake himself took to social media to thank people foe their support.
‘Thank you all from the bottom of my heart to all who came to support the LGBTQ community at Burroughs this morning.
‘Thank you all for shining your lights today.’