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Lesbian couple weds at ‘Equality House’ across from Westboro Baptist Church

Sunday, June 23, 2013

TOPEKA, Kan. — A lesbian couple from Arkansas married Saturday on the front lawn of the Equality House in Tokepa, Kan., across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church, home of the “God hates fags” activist group.

Kimberly Kidwell, 31, and Katie Short, 27, of Sherwood, Ark., exchanged vows at a ceremony hosted by Planting Peace, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, and who owns the rainbow-striped “Equality House” across from the Westboro compound.

Megan Rogers Photographie
From left: Kimberly Kidwell, officiant Rev, Robin Lunn, and Katie Short.

Megan Rogers Photographie
The Westboro compound can be seen in the background as wedding attendees gather at Equality House. (Click image to enlarge.)

Megan Rogers Photographie
Members of the wedding party unfurl a marriage equality banner from the roof of Equality House. (Click image to enlarge.)


Kidwell and Short, who have been together five years, had responded to a Facebook post from Planting Peace asking for a loving same-sex couple to participate in a public wedding at Equality House ahead of the pending U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Kidwell told LGBTQ Nation she and Short were honored to have been selected by Planting Peace to bost their ceremony. the pool of potential candidates.

She also noted that in her and her wife’s eyes, this was not a symbolic marriage despite the fact that both Kansas and their home state of Arkansas have laws prohibiting same-sex marriages and civil unions.

“This isn’t about that little piece of paper — although having that would be great — it’s about sending a message to the Supreme Court and others that our love and commitment is just as real as anyone else,” she said.

Kidwell, a first responder EMT with an ambulance company, said that her hometown, particularly her colleagues and the local firefighters she works with, have been supportive of the couple’s wedding, and that most of the wedding services were donated by local Topeka businesses.

A video of the ceremony is here:

“We are happy to play a part in bringing together two people that are very much in love with each other. It is unfortunate that our government views these two committed people as second class citizens,” Planting Peace founder Aaron Jackson told LGBTQ Nation.

“The Supreme Court session on marriage equality will be ruled upon in the very near future. It is our desire, by hosting this wedding, to send a clear message to the Supreme Court that equality should be for all,” he said.

Kidwell said there was muted reaction to the couple’s wedding from Westboro. She said Shirley-Phelps-Roper, daughter of church founder Fred Phelps, did make a quick appearance and agreed to take pictures with Planting Peace Staff, but declined to mingle with the brides and their guests.

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18 more reader comments:

  1. congratulations! !

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:49pm
  2. congrats

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:50pm
  3. Great day!

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:50pm
  4. I would have loved to see the exploding heads.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:50pm
  5. would have love to have been there to see it

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:52pm
  6. congrats ya’ll

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:52pm
  7. …how dare they express their love for each other in the near presence of such homophobes!!!…congrats ladies…best wishes for a wonderful life together…

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 1:54pm
  8. LGBT are finally starting to push back. We are not victims.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 2:00pm
  9. OH my gosh this is just too precious!!!! LOVE IT.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 2:03pm
  10. I love it!! Take that you Westboro bigots!

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 2:06pm
  11. Not sure why you asked this. This is something the wbc would want, it would give them an excuse to sue. Vandilism would be sinking to their level.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 2:24pm
  12. Oh damn it! Didn’t think of that. Welp this comment is being deleted.

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 2:25pm
  13. I love what is going on here but without knowing it your giving Westboro the spot light …. Just Sayin

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 4:43pm
  14. can’t stop my smile on my face,,really love the wedding, both families cooperating with them, accepted them,,,God Bless your relationship,,

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 5:55pm
  15. Shared

    Posted on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 9:21pm
  16. Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 8:38am
  17. woooo congradulations

    Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 11:21am
  18. http://www.horizonsmoke.com check ut the bulk specials on poppers!

    Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 1:11pm