Jack McGill, along with his wife of 22 years, Diane, and their two children drove 600 miles to D.C. for the second time this year to attend a protest -- the first was the March for Life.
In both cases, McGill said he came to "support God's truth." He hopes Congress will pass a marriage amendment. "That truth is engraved on everyone's heart from creation," McGill, of Detroit, Mich., said.
This year marks the second annual marriage march to ask Congress to define marriage according to traditional, biblical standards. The marchers this year included people of different ages, races, religions, and cultures, all united under the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. They gathered Thursday on the Capitol lawn to let politicians know the fight for marriage is not over.
"We are not under an obligation to defy God to obey you," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said at the June 19 rally, speaking to the government in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act last year. That law provided a federal definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Currently, states can decide whether or not to allow gay marriage -- 19 have overruled homosexual marriage bans and now allow same-sex unions. But legal challenges have been filed in every state that bans same-sex marriage, and the issue eventually will end up back before the Supreme Court.
With gay marriage continuing to gain momentum and acceptance in the nation's culture, Joe Grabowski, director of communications for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), said standing for the biblical definition of marriage "can feel like a very lonely position." NOM organized the march to bring people together. Last year, roughly 7,000 attended. This year, organizers estimated as many as 10,000 joined the procession.
"It's really nice to see you're not the only one out there," Karlene Carkhuff, who attended the march with her family both years, said. She pointed to her daughters and said, "These girls need to see they're not alone."
Carkhuff and her daughters marched with monks in gray cloaks, priests in collars, and Jews in heavy black suits. Chinese marchers shared the shade with African Americans.
A group of Hispanic marchers, stretching across a city block, blew horns and whistles and gave shouts of praise as they marched onto the lawn. They cheered wildly when Ruben Diaz, a pastor and New York state senator, rallied them in Spanish.
From the podium, speakers proclaimed the message that marriage is more than just a romance or a relationship between two people.
"The family unit is not arbitrarily defined by man as he pleases, but by nature," Alfonso Aguilar, with the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said. "One of its defining objectives is the procreation and upbringing of children."
The first March for Marriage took place on March 26, 2013, the day the Supreme Court heard arguments over California's marriage amendment, commonly referred to as Proposition 8. Thursday's procession stretched around the Capitol and stopped traffic. The crowd marched to the Supreme Court building behind a banner proclaiming "Every Child Deserves a Mom & a Dad" while singing hymns such as "Amazing Grace."
Emily Scheie & Rikki Elizabeth Stinnette are writers for WORLD Magazine. This article is used by permission from WORLD News Service. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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