The argument has become a fairly common one, but no less compelling for that. Fred Phelps' church had become such an extreme caricature of religious hate and had pissed off a wide enough demographic that they'd managed to actually force people to confront their own beliefs and, in some cases, change.
Just watch one of the two Louis Theroux "documentaries" on the WBC and you'll see their protests receive real anger from passers-by, even those who say things like "I don't agree with the lifestyle either BUT..."
So with the news of Fred Phelps passing, and further recent news that Shirley Phelps-Roper has been deposed as chief spokesperson, I feel I should pay tribute to the work the Westboro Baptist Church has done in moving hatred of homosexuals away from the "acceptable behaviour" region and to the "batshit crazy" arena.
Thank you Fred, I know that you will never know how much you've helped. But thank you all the same.