Thousands descend on Washington ahead of historic Supreme Court hearing on marriage equality

Supporters and opponents of marriage equality rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Supporters and opponents of marriage equality rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday, April 25, 2015. GayRVA.com

Supporters and opponents of marriage equality rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday, April 25, 2015.GayRVA.com

Supporters and opponents of marriage equality rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

WASHINGTON — Thousands of supporters and opponents of marriage equality descended on Washington this weekend and met at the steps of the Supreme Court Saturday, but not before those opposed to same-sex unions held what they called their “largest march for marriage yet.”

“We do this out of a spirit of love understanding that marriage is based upon the truth and beauty that we are created in God’s image, male and female,” said Brian Brown (pictured below), president of the National Organization for Marriage, the group who organized Saturday’s march from the U.S. Capitol building to the Supreme Court.

 Brian Brown

Brian Brown

Saturday’s “March for Marriage” event began with a smaller gathering at the Capitol, but as speakers took the stage, and members of New York’s 32nd senatorial district arrived, the numbers swelled.

The event coincides with the Supreme Court’s hearing Tuesday of the challenge to state same-sex marriage bans. Last October, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky — the first federal appellate court to rule against marriage equality — prompting the high court to weigh in on the issue.

The majority of anti-gay attendees where latino members of New York’s 32nd district, which comprises a range of South American and Spanish speaking countries now living in the Bronx borough. A high-energy English-to-Spanish translator was used by every speaker except a few, including Family Research Council Action’s executive director, and reality TV participant Josh Duggar (pictured below).

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Josh Duggar

Josh Duggar

“Every child deserves a mother and a father” said Duggar, who gained famed as part of the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting.” His message of two, opposite sex parents, was part of the three reasons he said he came to speak – the others were “selflessness” and “freedom.”

“You don’t have to compromise your convictions to be compassionate,” Duggar said. “The court has the opportunity to affirm what these states and many others did in preserving marriage in their state constitutions – they need to respect the freedom of the people to debate this crucial issue.”

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