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A fund-raiser for Nashville CARES in which pledges were collected based on how long an anti-gay Kansas preacher picketed outside Metro Council was a smashing success, its coordinators say.
The Phelps-a-Thon, named after Pastor Fred Phelps from Kansas, raised ''in the neighborhood of $10,000,'' said Sam Felker. ''That's double what we thought we would do.''
The money will be presented to Nashville CARES, an AIDS education and support service today, he said.
Felker and his partner Keith Little organized the impromptu fund-raiser with help from Vanderbilt University students and others when Phelps announced he was coming to town to spread what he says is God's word of vengeance and hatred against gays.
Metro Council was considering a law to ban discrimination in employment because someone is gay, lesbian or bisexual. The proposal was withdrawn but sponsors say they will resubmit it with more accurate wording.
Phelps showed up last month with about six others, mostly family members, to protest the original bill and says he'll be back.
It was estimated that he would picket for three hours, so that length of time was used for pledges, Felker said.
''Everybody has remarked that it made them feel really good that they had a positive way to respond to Phelps' message,'' he said.
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