The notorious Westboro Baptist Church is located in Topeka, Kansas. The church is known nationwide for its hatred for LGBTQ+ people. Across the street from this church, however, now stands a house being dubbed the “equality house.” The house’s owner, Aaron Jackson, got the idea for the equality house back in 2012 when he saw that the house across the street from the church had gone up for sale. He bought the house and did all the preparation that he needed to do. He purchased paints in the colors of the Gay Pride flag and painted his house accordingly. The house became a national phenomenon and a big hit for Jackson. He has since founded a global nonprofit called Planting Peace. His foundation seeks to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and support sustainability initiatives.
This all started because Jackson wanted to send a message to the members of the Westboro Baptist Church. The church is famous for its anti-LGBTQ stance. Their website description even includes an anti-gay slur. The name of the anti-gay initiative is “God Hates F*gs.” The slogan is deeply offensive to members of the LGBTQ+ community. The members of the Westboro Baptist Church are also known for protesting at Pride rallies and other progressive demonstrations. After purchasing the house, Jackson and another colleague moved in and got to work on painting. After some hard work, the Equality House was officially open in March of 2013. When the Equality House open Jackson did an interview with the Topeka-Capital Journal. He said that he was very curious to see how the church and its members would respond. He said he wasn’t trying to “start a war,” he just wanted to let them know that he disagreed with their opinion.
A spokesman for the church responded to the Equality House. Steve Drain, the church’s spokesman, said that he thinks that Jacksons’ approach is not new or original. He called the house the “Sodomite Rainbow House.” He then said that the house is just one more example of how “sodomy is ruining America.” Drain also said that there are many such rainbow houses in the US and that this one is only significant because of where it is located. The name of the contractor who took on the job of painting the Equality House is Mike McKessor. He is located about an hour from the Equality House, and he remarked that many of the more local contractors in the area were afraid to take the job. He himself, however, was excited to take on the job. In addition to protesting at Pride rallies the Westboro Baptist Church also frequently pickets the funerals of veterans. This offends McKessor, since he is a veteran himself. Thus, he happily took on the job in order to protest the church. This incident highlights the fractured nature of American culture. There are many people out there who just want to do the right thing and get along, but they are often thwarted by bad actors with a political agenda.