Topeka (KSNT) – Southwest 12th and Orleans Street is undoubtedly the most controversial street in Topeka. The Equality House on one side, Westboro Baptist on the other.
The pairing began with a simple phone call.
“Hey, the house across from Westboro Baptist Church is for sale. We should buy it and paint it rainbow. I was like ‘oh wow, here we go’,” says house director Davis Hammet.
Two years ago that’s exactly what happened.
“Before where Westboro was almost a blemish on the area and community, the Equality House has wiped that away. It’s made it safe, it’s made it fun,” says house visitor, Chris Jimerson.
Today the two year anniversary fun included ‘planting a kiss for peace’ in front of the Westboro Church. It was an event ncouraging all types of couples to show their love.
But, organizers say their mission is about much more than marriage equality.
“The house is bigger than any issue. And the house is…A lot of people refer to the house as a gay rights house, but this house is a human rights house. It’s about people treating each other kindly, fairly, with respect,” says Hammet.
And people from all over the world agree.
“It’s really about sending a message of peace and love and equality, and it’s a great day for it,” says Leo Dennett, a visitor from London.
But the Equality House says any day is a great day to stop by.
“We have a sign that says all are welcome, and that’s what this house is all about,” says Hammet.