As justices inside the Supreme Court prepared to hear oral arguments to determine whether or not same-sex marriage bans in certain states are constitutional on Tuesday morning, crowds of demonstrators gathered to support both sides of the argument.
People that began gathering last Thursday held hundreds of signs and flags, chanted slogans, and preached over loudspeakers. The court heard arguments in the cases of plaintiff same-sex couples from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky.
“It’s our Roe v. Wade,” street preacher Tracy Grisham told Townhall. Grisham traveled with her husband to from Amarillo, Texas to demonstrate outside of the Supreme Court Tuesday.
“If it comes down that gay marriage is passed, then it will bring the judgement of God on this country,” Grisham said. “This country’s turned its back on Israel, we’ve aborted hundreds and thousands of babies a day and then promoting homosexual marriage -- it’s just like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Justices in the hearing asked tough, probing questions regarding the definition of marriage: Justice Anthony Kennedy commented that marriage has been considered between a man and a woman “for millennia,” and to change that would redefine the institution. Kennedy also said that it was important to consider the dignity of same-sex couples.
“I am extremely encouraged by the questioning, especially from Justice Kennedy, because it focused on what marriage is,” John Eastman, Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement. “It shows that the justices realize that marriage has existed for millennia and they have no constitutional basis to redefine it.”
Outside, as hundreds of blue flags from the Human Rights Campaign waved, signs proclaimed doom on the gay community, saying that LGBTQ people “are not only worthy of death, but love death and don’t know Jesus.”
“We’re here today because the Bible defines marriage as a man leaving his parents, cleaving to his wife, and them becoming twain, one flesh,” said Noah Phelps-Roper, the grandson of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, told Townhall. “They’re going to let this happen, and this is going to be a filthy nation -- it already is a filthy nation.”
Other Westboro Baptist Church members held signs with slogans like “Judge Between Good and Evil,” “Hell Is Eternal,” and “Fags Are Beasts.”
“They all come from the Bible,” Noah Phelps-Roper said. “That’s how we get all of our signs.”
Westboro wasn’t the only group there warning of fire and brimstone: Grisham and a crowd of other street preachers from across the country spoke extensively over a loudspeaker.
“They try to change their gender -- which you cannot do,” street pastor David Grisham yelled over a loudspeaker. “I don’t care what kind of Frankenstein operation you have if you sew something on or chop something off it doesn't matter it does not change your gender. You are genetically male or genetically female. You’ll always be that way.”
Tracy Grisham added: “They may get a marriage certificate by man, but it’s not going to be sanctified by God. Life is like a vapor -- if they do not repent of their sins and turn back to God, they too will perish.”
Hundreds of activists from the Human Rights Campaign and other members of the LGBTQ community also rallied outside the building with signs reading “All Love Is Equal,” “Keep Calm and Marry On,” and “#lovecantwait.”
J.M. Sorrell, a lesbian justice of the peace from Massachusetts drove down from the the Bay State with her pug on Tuesday morning to rally in support of what she sees as a landmark decision.
“I’ve married a lot of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples over the last 11 years,” Sorrell told Townhall. “This is significant because it will end the ambiguity between state and federal law once and for all -- I hope.”
If decided in favor of the petitioner couples from each state, recognizing gay and lesbian couples to be married would become federal law and bans in states still holding the traditional definition of marriage would be revoked.
“Mary Bonauto,” Sorrell said of one of the petitioning attorneys, “she’s my hero. She’s the one who argued the case for marriage equality in Massachusetts and for civil unions in Vermont, way back when. She’s arguing today here at the Supreme Court. I feel a special kinship to what’s going on here today.”
The court will deliberate and hand down a decision on the case this summer.