- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A gay rights activist and philanthropist has purchased the residence neighboring the Westboro Baptist Church headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, and he has painted it as a gay pride flag.

Right across from a “FAG MARRIAGE DOOMS NATIONS” sign, Aaron Jackson, 31, decided to buy the fixer-upper for $81,000, painting the wood-paneled house all colors of the rainbow.

Mr. Jackson was drawn to Topeka after reading about the Westboro protests. He wanted to find a way to support equality, anti-bullying programs and some sort of pro-LGBT initiative, Gawker reports.

“I’ve been accused in the past of being all over the place, and they’re probably right on some level,” Mr. Jackson said. “Right now we are standing up to bigotry and promoting equality.”

He began experimenting with Google Maps late one night and noticed a For Sale sign in front of the Westboro Baptist Church.

“It hit me right away,” he told Gawker. “Huh. That would be interesting to own a house across from the Westboro Baptist Church and turn it into something.’ And then, within five seconds: ‘And I’ll paint it the color of the pride flag.’ Perfect.”

Mr. Jackson is naming the center “Equality House.” He also plans on hoisting a gay pride flag atop a 30-foot flag pole. The church’s reaction so far has been mild.

Westboro’s Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of founder Fred Phelps, quipped that she “loves it.”

“I love it,” she said of the structure. “What he does is he keeps the eyes of the whole earth on this message. Now everyday all people are thinking about is God will not have same sex marriage.”

Mr. Jackson said that now when Westboro is politicized, people will also get to catch a brief glimpse “of compassion and love.”