JK ROWLING has taken on an US “hate group” in a row over Ireland’s gay marriage vote.
The Harry Potter author had joked about the fictional wedding of her character Dumbledore and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings following Friday’s referendum in which the majority voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
The Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, reposted her tweet and threatened to picket the ceremony.
Rowling branded the organisation as “bigots” with “thick sloping skulls”.
Rowling had earlier hailed the “extraordinary and wonderful” referendum result in which nearly 62 per cent of Irish voters supported same-sex marriage.
She had posted a picture that said: “What if Dumbledore and Gandalf were gay together” with her comment: “Then they could get married in IRELAND!”
Whilst fans were supportive, the Westboro Baptist Church posted a comment saying “So JK Rowling wants Dumbledore & Gandalf to marry in Ireland; if it happens, WBC will picket! #NotBanned “
Rowling replied: “Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls.”
Westboro Baptist Church is an small unaffiliated church, started by the late pastor Fred Phelps and populated by many members of his family.
It has blamed the deaths of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq on tolerance of homosexuality. It is also known for picketing funerals with signs bearing messages like “God Hates Fags,” “God Hates Jews” and “Thank God for AIDS.”
When challenged by a Twitter user for giving the group attention, Rowling insisted it was important to confront them.
A user called Lara wrote: “While i am in total agreement with you, giving them attention is counterproductive. that’s what they want.”
Rowling replied: “I don’t care about WBC. I think it’s important that scared gay kids who aren’t out yet see hate speech challenged. “
A user called Enilev wrote “QUEEN ! Thank you for all of that!”
Claire wrote: “Yes. It’s easy for those with privilege to say ignore them, but challenging hate helps empower the minority.”
Rowling has dealt deftly with Twitter trolls in the past, and silenced one critic in the wake of the UK general election by reminding them that the internet can also be used to buy penis enlargers.