Same-sex marriage opponents hold rally at Utah state capitol

In this Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 photo, opponents of same-sex marriage hold a rally the Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City.

In this Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 photo, opponents of same-sex marriage hold a rally the Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City. Trent Nelson, AP

In this Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 photo, opponents of same-sex marriage hold a rally the Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City.Trent Nelson, AP

Opponents of same-sex marriage hold a rally the Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014.

SALT LAKE CITY — Several hundred people gathered to show their opposition to increasingly widespread acceptance of gay marriage Thursday at the Utah State Capitol, lamenting the harm done to children raised by gay and lesbian parents.

They held signs declaring “biology is not bigotry” and “two moms don’t equal a dad,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported. They cheered long and loud as conservative activist Mary Summerhays projected on a screen images of same-sex couples and their children.

Utah same-sex marriage supporters decry use of child photos

Associated Press

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Utah are condemning opponents they accuse of exploiting the children of same-sex couples by using their photos as propaganda at an anti-gay marriage rally.

Utah Celebration of Marriage projected the images on a screen at a rally held Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda to show support for what the group describes as “traditional families.”

Conservative activist Mary Summerhays showed photos of two men holding their son and two women with their baby daughter and told the crowd the children “will pay the price of redefining marriage.”

Marina Gomberg, interim direct of Equality Utah, said Friday it was a “disgrace” to go after loving parents and their children to further the anti-equality agenda. Full story

“These are the faces of the children who will pay the price of redefining marriage,” she said.

As a photo appeared of a baby with two lesbians, Summerhays said: “I’m sure these girls would make great mothers. But one thing they can never be is a father. One thing they can never make or be is one of each.”

Summerhays’ organization, Utah Celebration of Marriage, organized the event that was the latest of several rallies held this year by supporters of what they call “traditional marriage” to show that there is still staunch opposition to making gay marriage legal.

Utah became one of the focal points for the same-sex marriage movement after a federal judge threw out its voter-approved ban in December. More than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples married before the U.S. Supreme Court put the ruling on hold pending appeal.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby triggered a series of similar rulings across the country and helped fuel a court winning streak for gay marriage advocates.

In June, a federal appeals court in Denver upheld the ruling, and now, Utah officials are appealing that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court in a last attempt to keep a ban voters approved in 2004.

Supporters of same-sex marriage attended Thursday’s rally to make their presence known. Gay marriage advocates scoff at claims that children do worse with gay and lesbian parents.

“We want to put a face on the people they’re discriminating against,” said Mark Lawrence, who helped organize the lawsuit that led to the overturning of Utah’s gay marriage ban. “If everything stopped tomorrow, and same-sex marriage went back to being illegal in Utah, gay and lesbian couples would still have and raise children.”

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The outside attorney the state is paying to defend Utah’s ban, Gene C. Schaerr, attended the rally and received a standing ovation.

He said adopting a genderless definition of marriage would harm children. He also told the crowd that states should have a right to define marriage as they choose. He gave the crowd hope that the U.S. Supreme Court — which is scheduled to meet on Sept. 29 to discuss whether it will take up appeal requests from Utah and several other states — would side with anti-gay marriage advocates.

“I’m not predicting victory, but I’m not pessimistic about our chances,” Schaerr said. “Of the three (justices) who have made public their views on this issue — all three have gone our way.”

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