In a nightmare for all hateful bigots, two lesbians got married across the street from the hateful, bigoted Westboro Baptist Church, famous for protesting funerals and their oh-so-biblically inspired “God Hates Fags” signs. Kimberly Kidwell, a 31-year-old EMT, married Katie Short on the front lawn of the Equality House in Topeka Kansas, the rainbow-painted residence owned by Aaron Jackson, one of the founders of the charity Planting Peace. Jackson used Google Earth to find the location of of the Church. He noticed a “for sale” sign on the house across the street and decided to buy it. The website for the House says, “To combat [WBC's] messages of hate and to support equality and anti-bullying initiatives in schools and in our community, Planting Peace has established the Equality House.” The house will “serve as the resource center for all Planting Peace equality and anti-bullying initiatives and will stand as a visual reminder of our commitment, as global citizens, to equality for all.” Jackson says Equality house attracts 150 a day.
Kidwell and Short live in Arkansas, where same-sex marriage is illegal, as it is in Kansas. They planned to forgo a wedding and wait until it would be legal. But when Jackson posted on Facebook that he was looking for a couple to get married, they jumped at the opportunity. Kidwell and Short were wed by Robin Lunn, an ordained Baptist minister and executive director of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, in ceremony consisting of approximately 100 family members, friends and supporters from the community. Local businesses and individuals donated almost everything from the flowers, to the wedding cake. And in lieu of gifts, the couple asked for donations to a Planting Peace marriage equality fundraiser.
Robin Lunn’s version of Baptism is a wee bit more consistent with the teaching of Jesus Christ than WBC’s interesting interpretation of “Love thy neighbor by picketing his or her funeral.” Lunn, who’s on a 15-state Living Jubilee Revival Tour with her association of churches is doing more than just turning the other cheek in the face (mixed awkward metaphor) of bigotry: she said they will be collecting prayers for the WBC over the next 30 days that they’ll send to the church. Demonstrating way more empathy and charity than I could ever muster, Lunn explained, ”We don’t hate them. We disagree with their message and their interpretation of the Bible but we don’t hate them and we wanted to bring our version of what it means to be a Baptist. Love is bigger than hate.”
Of course, Westboro Baptist Church protested from across the street. But if they were trying to get under the brides’ skin, they failed. Kidwell said, ”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.”