If I’d known about the wedding in advance, I would have done my best to attend. At the very least, I would have sent a card to the happy couple.
But my invitation must have been lost in the mail, so I missed the nuptials of Kimberly Kidwell and Katie Short last weekend. In fact, I didn’t even hear about it until I read the story earlier this week about their wedding, which was first reported in the New York Daily News.
Two persons of the same sex saying “I do” no longer is particularly newsworthy in a time when attitudes about gay marriage are changing so dramatically. But, in this case, it wasn’t the “who,” “what,” “why” or “how” that made it a national story.
It was the “where.”
Because the ceremony took place in the yard of a house 50 feet away from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. A house that it’s owner had painted in rainbow colors and called “Equality House.”
In case you’ve never heard of it — or have managed to forget about it — the Westboro Baptist Church is comprised of a tiny group of attention addicts that has taken the lyrics of the Burt Bacharach song and re-written them to declare, “What the world needs now, is hate, sweet hate, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
For several years they’ve been traversing the country, singing their ugly, hurtful song, mostly at the funerals of military members who have died. Waving their vile signs as close as they are legally allowed to the families who are suffering the loss of a son or a daughter, a husband or a wife, a mother or a father.
They do that, they say, because they have God’s private cell phone number and God has told them that He hates homosexuals and that the deaths of military personnel are His punishment for America’s tolerance.
A few years ago they came to my city to demonstrate at the funeral of a female Marine who had been murdered, so I had a chance to ask the group’s leader what her death had to do with homosexuality. I didn’t get a logical answer, but then, I never really expected one.
When the demonstration had ended I went back to my office and wrote a column about it. And then I went home and took a shower.
So I congratulate Kimberly and Katie on their “in your face” choice of a wedding location, directly across the street from a house of hateful worship. And I wish them a lifetime of happiness.
Because sometimes the best answer to hatred is love, sweet love.