Equality Kansas will hold its own rally Sunday evening in answer to the Westboro Baptist Church protests that will be taking place in Roeland Park and Mission earlier that day.
The rally will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue
Sandra Meade, state chair for Equality Kansas, said her group will on occasion stage a counter demonstration where Westboro is protesting, but those are in public settings where it is not disruptive. Equality Kansas wants to respect the church congregations, the residences and the normal quiet of the Sunday morning times, Meade said. For that reason, the demonstration will be held at 5:30 p.m. on the northwest corner of Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue.
Michael Poppa, the Equality Kansas local chapter chair, said the demonstration would take place on the public sidewalks, not on the green space at that corner that has been sold to Commerce Bank.
Westboro is planning to protest at St. Agnes Catholic Church and Roeland Park United Methodist Church, both in Roeland Park, and at Trinity Lutheran in Mission Sunday morning.
The Westboro protests are in connection with a Roeland Park city council proposal to extend its anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Westboro has a long history of protests connected to its anti-gay stance, including protests at military funerals. It has targeted the churches because it says they have not done enough to oppose the proposed ordinance.
Equality Kansas has a mission: “Determined to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity / expression.” Meade and Poppa appeared at the Roeland Park council meeting last week to answer questions about the anti-discrimination ordinance.