Thousands of people gathered Saturday for a passionate, peaceful demonstration to uphold marriage “as God ordained it.”
“The people of this nation know what marriage is, and we do not want it redefined,” said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the main sponsor of the March For Marriage.
“Marriage is, and can only be, the union of one man and one woman. This is a beautiful truth,” said Archbisop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Redefining marriage in law is the greatest social experiment of our time,” he added. “Children do not need experiments. They need love of their mother and father, where ever possible.”
The thousands-strong crowd included people who came in more than 150 buses, said NOM organizers. Many of the “March For Marriage” signs were in Spanish, as the crowd was diverse in ethnicity and age.
There were very few counter-protests. One man ran through the crowd saying, “You’re all on the wrong side,” and a woman silently carried a sign for marriage equality at the Supreme Court. At least one gay flag was waved at the marchers.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said on its blog that the “beleaguered” marriage rally did not represent the views of some 200 million Americans, and NOM and its allies were “on the wrong side of history.”
HRC President Chad Griffin said HRC had recently written to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the papal nuncio to the United States, to urge him not to address the march.
The archbishop was not among the prominent Catholic clerics to address the crowd, but received a round of applause for attending the rally, the HRC blog noted.
On the sidewalk near the Supreme Court, more than a dozen people were already waiting to be admitted to Tuesday’s oral arguments in the gay marriage cases, known as Obergefell v. Hodges. A reporter asked two young men who were waiting for their views of the March for Marriage, which had gathered around the Supreme Court steps. “Oh we have something to say, but not to a reporter,” one man replied.
James Hankins, 26, was one of about 100 marchers who rode in buses from Detroit.
“What we stand for is that marriage is between a man and a woman the way God ordained,” Mr. Hankins said. “That’s why we stand here. That’s why we march.”
The following are excerpts of speeches at the March for Marriage:
Archbisop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Marriage is, and can only be, the union of one man and one woman. This is a beautiful truth.”
“Redefining marriage in law is the greatest social experiment of our time. Children do not need experiments. They need love of their mother and father, where ever possible.”
“Marriage, like the gift of human life itself, cannot be essentially changed.”
Father Johannes Jacobse, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Antiochian Orthodox Mission in Bonita Springs, Fla.
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and [render] unto God the things that are God’s. Marriage begins with the Lord, not with the State.’ The codification of law in marriage is merely a recognition of that which already exists. Marriage is one man and one woman because it takes one man and one woman to create a child. This is written in nature.
“If you give to Caesar the things that are God’s, he never gives it back. And in the end, the State will be telling you how to live, and you will lose your freedom, and the family will be weakened, and the society will crumble and might even be destroyed.”
“Make your voice heard, and do it with clarity, do it with benevolence and deep charity of heart, because God loves all. Jesus Christ died for everyone, not just the believers… Stand up. Stand up.”
Bishop Brandon Burdette Porter of Church in God in Christ in Tennessee
“We believe in marriage God’s way.”
“I often view God as a parent. I see the Heart of God more and more each day through the act of marriage. What is the one thing that parents want from their married children? You got it: Grandchildren. And God wants the same. He wants us to multiply and replenish the Earth. Same-sex marriage cannot provide that Kingdom request.”
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel
The defendmarriage.org pledge “ends with some of these words: Make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw, and one we cannot — and will not — cross.”
Carlos Luis Vargas Silva, founder and president of Central Biblico Internacional
“There is no authority outside of God. And the ones that exist — whether it be a president, or senator or congressman or the Supreme Court — they have been given power by God. And for one purpose only: to honor the Creator.”
Cathy Ruse, senior fellow of legal studies at Family Research Council
“President Obama likes to say that no one should lose their job because of who they love. What if who they love is Jesus Christ?”
Rev. Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors
“I am a loving father, and I can tell you it’s a difference between a mother and a father. They love me, but boy they love their mother. How can a man be a mother? A man cannot be a mother. I cannot be a mother to my children, but I can be a good father to my children.”
New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., and pastor of Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the Bronx
“I’m going to say this with a lot of pride. When the same-sex marriage act came to the legislators in Albany, this little black man right here, with kinky hair and broken English, was the only Democrat of the State of New York that voted against this legislation.”
“I am the only elected official here, and I belong to the Democratic Party of New York and New York City, a liberal state where everybody is liberal. But me — I am a senator of New York, and I say that marriage between man with man is not biblical. No, no, no.”