As you know, the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments today regarding the redefinition of marriage. To coincide with this, the National Organization of Marriage spearheaded a pro-marriage march to the Supreme Court. I left the house at 8, caught the Metro and walked to the beginning spot on the National Mall.
|A very muddy National Mall.|
|About to round the corner on the way to the Supreme Court building.|
|My alma mater -- Franciscan University of Steubenville.|
|Archbishop Cordileone marches with us (center).|
|The two women in the left corner holding up their wedding rings.|
Right around 9 am the marchers began making their way to to the Supreme Court. I'm not good about estimating numbers, so I really shouldn't make a guess about the attendees. It was certainly much smaller than the March for Life, but the crowd always seemed to grow and to impress me each time I turned around to see what we looked like.
Most of the marriage marchers held signs advocating a mother and a father for children. There were occasional chants of "One Man! One Woman!" (sometimes punctuated by copious "alleluias" from the charismatic Latino groups).
We marched up the Mall and then turned onto half of Constitution Ave. (The other half of the street remained open to traffic.This is an indication of the size difference compared to the March for Life when the entire street and sidewalk is flooded with marchers.)
We passed the Westboro Baptist Church's horribly hateful sign-covered truck. The March for Marriage organizers were adamant before we began that their message was not ours.
Up the hill we marched. There were many nationalities represented. There were signs in Spanish and T-shirts written in an Asian language.
And then we turned the corner. On the side, I noticed a van or truck for "Capitol Hill Police," and police presence was very strong!
Those who were advocating a change in the definition of marriage were lining both sides of the street in front of the Supreme Court, with signs and chants ("Gay, Straight, Black or White, Marriage is a Civil Right" and "What do we want? -- Equality. When do we want it -- Now.")
We tried to march forward. I heard later that those in the front of the march were blocked from proceeding, but I did not see that occur. Instead, where I was in front of the Supreme Court, we were told to face the Supreme Court, only a couple of feet from the hundreds (thousands?) of redefinition protesters. We each held our signs high. There was chanting. The police were there. The media were there.
We stood for quite a while and then were told to continue walking. We began but then noticed others cycling back from where we had come. So we joined them, only to be told a few minutes later to turn around again. I wondered if we would be trapped in that zone of dueling signs and slogans.
But we were not.
We walked past the Supreme Court once more. Then there was a relatively peaceful walk back to the National Mall for the rally.
Archbishop Cordileone from San Francisco began his remarks speaking to those who disagree with us, saying, 'We love you. We are your neighbors. We want to be your friends. We want you to be happy." He went on to explain why marriage must be between one man and one woman.
Others spoke as well. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse said that if a redefinition of marriage is passed by the Supreme Court, then the next generation will say, "What were you thinking?!"
|Archbishop Cordileone's speech at the rally.|
These things defy a soundbite. A few words on a sign cannot begin to capture the reality of marriage. A four word chant does not involve listening to the hurt of others and speaking to them of why we truly believe that redefining marriage is not the answer to their quest for happiness.
|Love and Fidelity Network's sign|
It was also an opportunity for each of us who marched to tell the city, tell the nation, tell the world that marriage supports do exist. They are active. They are passionate. They are motivated to defend, protect and live the reality of the gift of marriage.
A Starbucks CEO, a Microsoft commercial, an Ohio senator and a movie star did not create marriage, nor are they final arbiters in deciding what marriage truly is. Even the Supreme Court does not have this power. As the many people who marched today said, even silently with their feet in the mud in the National Mall -- the beauty of authentic marriage is still alive and well and always will be.