Like the Dallas Cowboys, Roseanne and tequila, Marilyn Manson is one of those things in life you either love or hate. Unfortunately for the heavily mascara-ed shock rockers, the people loathing 'em far outnumber doting fans. In the past week, the band has been effectively outlawed by local officials in South Carolina and Virginia.

And it's not just folks in notoriously conservative Midwestern or Bible Belt states. On Thursday, officials at New Jersey's Meadowlands sports complex said they would not allow Ozzfest '97 to go on as scheduled June 15 if Marilyn Manson is part of the lineup.

Ironically, Ozzfest is named after former Black Sabbath shrieker and devil devotee Ozzy Osbourne, who is headlining the festival. Named by Manson as one of their influences, Osbourne himself has been banned in Boston, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Corpus Christi, Baton Rouge and even Sin City, Las Vegas at various times in his career. Back in his bat-chomping heyday he was sued three times for allegedly causing teenagers to commit suicide. Apparently the pupil has now passed the master in degrees of offensiveness.

Church-going types don't take kindly to Manson's satanic stage show, their cult-like fans--who go by the name of Spooky Kids--or their latest disc, Antichrist Superstar. The demonic rock opera, which debuted at number three in October and has since gone platinum, features such ditties as "Irresponsible Hate Anthem," "Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World," and "Angel with the Scabbed Wings."

On Wednesday, the city manager of Richmond, Virginia canceled a May 10 show, saying that the quintet "was not consistent with our community standards." That prompted the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to prepare a lawsuit against the city. "It is clear that, but for the content of their lyrics, this concert would go on as scheduled," says Mary Bauer, legal director of the Virginia ACLU. If the city refuses to relent, Bauer says the suit will be filed next week.

Since kicking off last fall, the band's tour has also been protested in Massachusetts, Nebraska, Texas, West Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arkansas. Late Thursday, parents and Christian groups in Utica, New York, began pressuring lawmakers to cancel the May 6 concert there.

Founded in Florida in 1989, Marilyn Manson has carved a nice little niche for itself as the industrial Alice Cooper. Each bandmember has adopted the first name of a female sex symbol and the last name of a notorious serial killer. Along with the eponymous frontman, members have included Madonna Wayne Gacy, Twiggy Ramirez and Olivia Newton Bundy.

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