Elizabeth Edwards' Funeral To Take Place Amid Possible Westboro Baptist Protests
(CNN) -- As mourners gather to commemorate the life of Elizabeth Edwards on Saturday afternoon, picketers from a Kansas-based church -- along with counter-protesters -- could change the mood outside the funeral.
Edwards, the estranged wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 61.
Representatives for the Edwards family confirmed that the service will be held at the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, where the Edwards family worshiped. The funeral will be open to the public.
A representative for Brown-Wynne Funeral Homes said the funeral will take place at 1 p.m.
Edwards will then be buried at Raleigh's Historic Oakwood Cemetery, according to office manager Sharon Freed. Earlier this week, Freed told CNN about the proximity of the burial to Edwards' son Wade, who was buried at the cemetery after dying in a 1996 car crash.
"He is already interred there in a space. And she will be interred there beside him," Freed said.
But the funeral could be marked by picketers from Westboro Baptist Church.
According to a press release from the church, members of the Kansas-based congregation are planning to rally against Edwards for issues relating to her personal life deemed offensive by the church.
The church is known for its extremist opposition against homosexuals, Jews and other groups. Westboro members often hold protests at funerals for fallen U.S. service members, saying the war's dead are God's punishment for the country tolerating gays and lesbians.
The father of a U.S. Marine has sued the church, alleging invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. The case, Snyder v. Phelps, has reached the Supreme Court and tests the privacy rights of grieving families with the free speech rights of demonstrators, however disturbing and provocative their message.
But some are organizing a counter-protest to Westboro Baptist's efforts at Edwards' funeral.
Susan Burcham and Ben Requena did not know Edwards, but said they felt compelled to stand up against the church's protest.
"When I heard that these people were coming ... I felt like I needed to say something to the bully in our front yard," Burcham told Anderson Cooper on CNN's "AC360." She said she helped organize the counter-protest on Facebook.
Requena said he would consider his efforts successful if Sunday morning's headlines read, "Elizabeth Edwards quietly laid to rest."
"This isn't about us," Requena said on the program. "It's not about the thousands of people from the local community and abroad that are going to come over and help protest and help spread the love. It's certainly not about the Westboro group. This is about human decency and common courtesy."
Edwards, who had four children and had worked as a bankruptcy lawyer in Raleigh, was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after her husband lost his bid for vice president in November 2004.
In 2006, after her initial cancer diagnosis, she wrote "Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers," which chronicled the aftermath of her son's death and her battle with the disease.
In 2008, months after withdrawing from the presidential race, John Edwards admitted that tabloid claims about an extramarital affair with former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter were true. Eventually, he also admitted to fathering a child with Hunter -- an allegation he initially vociferously denied even after conceding the affair.
John Edwards said the affair happened in 2006 while his wife's cancer was in remission. He claimed he informed his wife at the time and asked for her forgiveness.
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press after her husband admitted to his affair, Elizabeth Edwards said the incident helped her focus on resuming her role as an advocate for the poor and for health care reform. She also said it pushed her to refocus on her role as a mother.
In a September interview on "The Nate Berkus Show," Edwards was asked what she sees when she looks at her estranged husband, John Edwards.
"I see the father of my children, and that's very important to me," she said. "Particularly since I have a terminal disease, this is the person who at some point will take over the primary parenting, and it's important to me that he heal, if he needs to."
A memorial website for Edwards states, "In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wade Edwards Foundation, which benefits the Wade Edwards Learning Lab." According to the site, the learning lab is a computer and learning center in Raleigh that provides services free of charge.
Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - "He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver. It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police Officers were called to Sacred Heart Children's Hospital Friday after receiving word that a three month old baby had arrived at the Intensive Care Unit with severe brain trauma. Court documents say the parents took the baby to the Holy Family Hospital, where the injuries were deemed severe. The baby was then taken by ambulance to Sacred Heart. According to the documents, a CPS caseworker says one>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department is releasing the names of the officers involved in the shooting that left one man dead near 57th and Regal on July 3. Police say Officers Kelsey Scott and Caleb Martin fired their weapons, striking 53-year-old Daniel Craven, who later died from his injuries at the hospital. Officer Kelsey Scott was hired by the Spokane Police Department in May of 2014.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - The FBI is looking for a convicted felon they believe is involved in trafficking methamphetamine in Montana. 33-year-old Chase Storlie initially had a federal arrest warrant issued for him in Montana on June 9 for failure to appear at his arraignment in Helena. Storlie was previously charged on April 26, 2017, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute meth.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - One Spokane family is looking for the stranger who noticed a fire in front of their home and dropped everything to warn them. The homeowner tells KHQ that if it wasn't for this guardian angel, things could have ended badly. July Delaney and her two sons were spreading much around the front of their house on the South Hill Tuesday afternoon.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - Upgrading your Washington state ID at the Department of Licensing is becoming more time consuming. "There had been a computer delay earlier," said one DOL customer named Lyle. Instead of leaving, he decided to wait. Lyle had already been waiting for about two hours until his number was called.>>