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Just days before the Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on same-sex marriage, two women celebrate their wedding at the Equality House, right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church.
It was a Facebook post that connected lesbian couple Kimberly Kidwell and Katie Short of Arkansas with the Equality House in Topeka. On their wedding day Saturday evening, they say they feel their marriage is just as real as any other.
A harp plays, guests gather and two brides walk down the aisle.
“We’re just a real loving couple and we deserve the same rights as everybody,” Short says.
The couple decided to say their vows right across from the Westboro Baptist Church – a group known for picketing funerals and events with provocative signs.
“Thankfully they didn’t, they did put up some signs and such but otherwise pretty respectful,” Kidwell says.
The Equality House promotes peace and this couple uses it to send their own message to the
Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on same-sex marriage in a matter of days.
“We wanted them to see this before they make their ruling hopefully,” Short says.
“We’re trying to put pressure on the Supreme Court to do the right thing and uphold the American values of loving each other, showing compassion, you know really finding our strength in our diversity,” says Davis Hammet, a resident of the Equality House.
Same-sex marriage is not currently recognized in Kansas or Arkansas where the couple lives, but they say not having a marriage license won’t take away their newlywed excitement.
“This marriage is real to us, whether we get the piece of paper or not, it’s our marriage and it’s real to us,” Kidwell says.
In lieu of wedding gifts, the couple asks supporters to donate to Planting Peace, a 501c3 non-profit public charity at the Equality House.