Anti-Gay Church Gets Gay Pride House Across the Street

Rainbow-colored "Equality House" targets Westboro Baptist Church

By An Phung
|  Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013  |  Updated 2:28 PM EDT
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Anti-Gay Church Gets Gay Pride House Across the Street

Planting Peace

The Equality House, located across the street from Westboro Baptist Church, is seen here with its new paint job.

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A newly renovated house across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church will have its flock seeing red...and orange and yellow and green.

A gay rights center moved into a house across the street from the church in Topeka, Kan., best known for its anti-gay picketing and protests at funerals for U.S. soldiers. The organization has been painting the house in bright rainbow colors, the same colors as the pride flag.

"It's amazing to see it shining bright and to see the world's reaction to it," said Aaron Jackson, founder of Planting Peace, the charity behind the Equality House project.

Jackson said the idea for the house was inspired by Josef Miles, a local 9-year-old boy who photobombed one of the church's protests with a makeshift sign that read "God Hates No One."

Jackson had been looking for a way to support anti-bullying and pro-LGBT programs, according to Gawker. He saw this as an opportunity to promote his message and turn the media's attention to something positive. And that is exactly what he got.

"We knew it would go viral through social media, but we didn't expect it to be a global story," Jackson told NBC.

The house he originally wanted was no longer for sale, but another one two doors down was. After some haggling with the owner, Jackson purchased the house six months ago for $81,000.

Jackson and his team kept the project under wraps. Not even close friends knew about the house.

"We didn't want the press or the city to find out. We thought the church would come and stop us." he told NBC.

The paint job was supposed to be completed on Tuesday, but workers were hampered by the cold weather.

The house currently has one coat of paint, enough to get the community's attention. Jackson said he caught Shirley Lynn Phelps-Roper, daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, snapping photos of the colorful house.

"I'd love to have them over for dinner if they would like, but I don't see that happening," Jackson said.

Westboro Baptist Church did not respond to requests for an interview, but they did provide a statement to CNN.

"We thank God for the Sodomite Rainbow House! It is right across the street from the ONLY church that loves people enough to tell them the Bible truth about the filthy, soul-damning, nation-destroying sin of sodomy," the statement said.

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