Planting Peace’s Equality House, painted with rainbow colors, sits across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church headquarters in Kansas. On Saturday, June 22, the first same-sex wedding was performed on the property for a couple from Arkansas.
31-year-old ambulance technician Kimberly Kidwell married Katie Short on the lawn owned by Planting Peace president, Aaron Jackson. Jackson saw the perfect opportunity to showcase the wedding in light of the Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality.
“We wanted to help play a role in bringing light to this critical issue,” Jackson said in an interview with Huffington Post.
“None of us know exactly how the court is going to rule, but no matter what they say, there is still a lot of work to be done.”
The church responded with outrage as they planted anti-gay signs with a banner outside the property. The church recently told a 5-year-old girl that she would “burn in hell” when she sold lemonade for peace outside of the Equality House.
“I guess I was numb after seeing them for a minute,” Kidwell said as they were not disturbed by the church. “I knew the signs would be there, and I wasn’t even angry about it. We were just so ecstatic to be married.”
The ceremony and 100 guests that included family members, friends and marriage equality supporters with everything from music to the wedding cake donated by local businesses and supporters of the LGBT community.
“Since it’s illegal in Arkansas, we were really going to wait for it to become legal, but I read an article a couple of months ago that said out of the top nine states that were least likely to approve same-sex marriage, Arkansas was number one,” Kidwell added.
When a local reporter asked Kidwell about the wedding being performed in Topeka, she responded eloquently that members of the LGBT deserve the same right like everyone else.
“I said that we deserve equality and the same rights as everyone else, and the people of Topeka deserve that equality, too,” Kidwell concluded.
“I got so emotional just thinking that just one person from this city may change their views on homosexuals or the LGBT community as a whole.”