TOPEKA, Kan. — A Topeka organization is doing all it can to spread its message to the world, but it’s probably not the group you’re familiar with. The non-profit, Planting Peace is taking a page from the Westboro Baptist Church playbook and getting creative.
Westboro Baptist Church sits on one side of the street. It’s a well-kept compound surrounded by landscaping, fencing and surveillance cameras.
Across the street, Planting Peace’s “Equality House” is painted in rainbow colors and welcomes the world.
Saturday night, both will be the backdrop to a same sex wedding.
“We hijacked hate and swirled into love, it’s been pretty incredible.” said Davis Hammet.
Hammet is wearing several hats these days. Among them, Planting Peace spokesperson and wedding planner.
“I think it’s going to be a beautiful wedding our goal is to show the world that this is a beautiful thing about love,” Hammet explained
The couple getting married is from Arkansas. The two women plan on having a couple dozen family and friends attending, but it’s likely many, many more people will show up.
Hammet is hoping there is a show of support for same sex marriages, especially considering the opinions many are anticipating from the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We’re at a moment right now where we decide if we are a nation that discriminates people and tells them they’re second class citizens or if we are nation that finds strength in our diversity,” Hammet said.
Surprisingly, neighbors at Westboro Baptist Church aren’t mad. They have no plans to attend or even watch the outdoor wedding, but they are hopeful.
“It’s a wonderful thing, I’m hoping somehow this little group can be the anchor point to draw every media person in all of the world to Topeka, Kansas,” said Timothy Phelps, a Westboro member.
Members of Westboro don’t plan to protest or hold their infamous signs, they’re just going to go about their own business.
“We hope it goes off without a hitch everybody behaves and everybody talks about it,” Phelps said. “That’s our job to get a message out. Our job isn’t to try and sway anybody. … It’s not our message, we are the ambassadors, it’s God’s message.”
Hammet says Planting Peace hopes to share its own message, not just one for same sex marriage, but for everyone.
“If we set up across from them, we’re standing up to the bully, we’re telling people, when people say nasty stuff you don’t have to be afraid you can be who you want to be.”