This morning, thousands of advocates and families gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court to reflect, celebrate, and raise our voices.
As the Justices heard arguments in the Proposition 8 case, the United for Marriage Rally clearly showed the strength and diversity of our movement. People of all ages came; some conservative, some moderate, some liberal- all united for a common cause. Many religious leaders and congregants attended, following our early-morning interfaith service. We represented many cultures, and hailed from states all across the country.
The individuals who spoke reflected this makeup: a Republican who served as an aide to President George W. Bush, Chris Edwards took the podium to articulate his vision of marriage as a “human right for every person.”
Reverend Gary Hall, Dean of the National Cathedral, agreed, “the freedom to marry the person you love is more than a Constitutional right. It is a moral right.” National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia looked to history, concluding, “our separate struggles are really one… Familia es familia. Family is family.”
United Church of Christ Bishop Yvette Flunder, who describes herself as an African American woman, worker, mother, and grandmother, called on the Court to “follow the arc of justice,” and led the crowd in song.
DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton joined us to say, “there are no second class citizens. There are no second class marriages!”
Baltimore Ravens linebacker and LGBT ally Brandon Ayanbadejo spoke his conviction: “In the end, love is always going to win the game.”
It appears that the stories of our diverse community are not lost on the Justices. Justice Kennedy, in particular, seemed to be moved by the stories of the children raised by gay and lesbian couples. Early on in the argument, he questioned the attorney arguing on behalf of the Prop 8 proponents and acknowledged that there is an “immediate” legal harm to those same-sex couples who cannot be married. And he said the voice of thousands of children of same-sex couples is an important aspect of the case. “They want their parents to have full recognition and legal status… the voice of those children is considerable in this case, don’t you think?”
As Justice Kennedy was contemplating the voices of our children inside, outside on the steps of the Court, we also heard from the children of LGBT parents, as Outspoken Generation co-chair Ella Robinson stood beside her father, and gave this inspiring speech.
The energy, positivity, and sense of community onstage were more than matched by the crowd. We saw many wonderful homemade signs- some more lighthearted than others.
We brought music, clapping, and a few impromptu dance parties. A pair of stubby-legged pugs in red jackets came from New York, along with their dads Alberto and Jerry. Friends boosted each other up on shoulders for photos of the crowd, waving flags and smiling. As one speaker told an emotional coming out story, the man in front of me composed himself with a hand across his face. The friend next to him wordlessly reached over to rub his back. As the hearings came to a close, longtime activist and organizer Cleve Jones put the moment well: “Whatever the justices decide, we have already won the hearts and minds of the American people. You were always equal.”