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.
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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“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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Reverend and New York State Sen. Rubén Díaz (pictured above, center), of New York’s 32nd district, was one of two speakers to speak in Spanish and have it translated into English during Saturday’s event. He said he and his congregants filled up over 100 buses to come down to the March.
“When same-sex marriage act came to the legislative floor in Albany, this little black man with kinky hair and broken english, was the only democrat in the state of New York who voted against homosexuality,” said Díaz through the help of a translator.
Díaz, born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, then lead the crowd of about 1,000 people on a march from the Capitol steps to the Supreme Court building about four blocks away.
It was there the two groups – those opposing and those supporting same-sex marriage – met with little incident but much noise.
Article continues belowBag Pipes blew out, as did horn sections and several individual megaphones. Activists struggled to place signs in view, only to have their signs blocked by other signs from other activists.
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In the middle of it all was Senator Díaz leading a prayer.
Along side of the fray stood Nick Maddock, who recently moved to Washington D.C. from Richmond. He’d been waiting in line outside the court, hoping to land a seat at the hearing on Tuesday.
“I figured this is the only opportunity I’ll ever get to be in history like this,” Maddock said. He said he’d been enjoying the company of the 25 others in the line with him also waiting to enter the court room.
But not everyone was as excited for the Supreme Court’s decision.
“The bible says the wicked should return to hell, just like Hurricane Sandy being sent to NYC – that was god’s judgement,” said Pastor of the King James Bible Baptist Church Brian Kelly. Kelly came down that morning from New York City. He hadn’t been to many rallies in DC around this issue, but “believing its okay for two sodomites to get married” was a big enough concern for him so he felt the need to act.
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“God’s word is clear,” Kelly said. “Its an abomination.”
Kelly admitted it was unlikely the Supreme Court would uphold state’s bans on same-sex marriage, but he noted such a move would bring about the end times.
“The legalization of same-sex marriage,” said Kelly. “God’s judgement is going to hit this country when they pass it.”
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