Equality House holds first gay wedding across the street from Westboro Baptist Church

By Lona Panter
Sunday, June 23, 2013 15:27 EDT
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The Equality House, located across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church, held its first gay wedding Saturday night.
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On Saturday night, Kimberly Kidwell married Katie Short on the front lawn of the Equality House — which happens to be across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Topeka, Kan. wedding location was no accident. Kidwell and Short said their vows in front of the rainbow-striped home owned by Aaron Jackson, a founder of the Planting Peace charity, which strives to combat the Westboro church’s longstanding history of anti-gay protests and activism.

For its part, the church shared in the wedding day by placing signs and a banner on its property, a move which didn’t faze the brides.

“I guess I was almost numb after seeing them for a minute. I knew the signs would be there, and I wasn’t even angry about it. We were just so ecstatic to be getting married,” Kidwell told the Huffington Post.

While same-sex marriage is banned in Kansas, the Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling on two same-sex marriage cases this week, which motivated Jackson to host a wedding at the Equality House.

After posting on Facebook that he was searching for a couple who wanted to get married, Kidwell jumped at the chance.

She and Short live north of Little Rock, Ark., and had almost come to terms with never having a wedding.

“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,” she told HuffPo. “They’re real friendly here.”

And so, on Saturday night, Kidwell and Short were married in front of almost 100 friends, family members and local well wishers. Much of their ceremony — from flowers to music — was donated by supportive businesses and individuals.

“We wanted to help play a role in bringing light to this critical issue,” Jackson told the 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.”

Jackson bought the house across from Westboro Baptist Church after using Google Earth to research the area. He painted the house rainbow colored and has lived in the home for about six months, receiving up to 150 visitors a day.

Watch video of the wedding below, courtesy of YouTube:

Image via screencapture

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