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      Police in RI prepare for Westboro Baptist Church protest

      Several police departments met Friday in anticipation of anti-gay-marriage protests in Rhode Island.

      The Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas has demonstrated around the country in opposition to same-sex marriage. It's the same group that has gained notoriety for offensive protests at the funerals of deceased military fighters.

      On its website, the church has promised to protest in three cities in Rhode Island on Aug. 1, the first day marriage licenses will be issued to same-sex couples.

      State police met Friday with police from two of the cities -- Cranston and Pawtucket.

      Maj. Arthur Martins, of the Pawtucket Police Department, was in the meeting and said no violence is expected and that the group has the right to protest.

      Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said Police Chief Hugh Clements is also making a plan to ensure peaceful protests, which are expected at city hall clerk's offices where the licenses will be issued.