Three hundred people came to celebrate marriage as a union between a man and a woman at the Utah State Capitol on March 26. But more than 500 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied people showed up to celebrate marriage in all of its forms.
Same-sex marriage proponents far outnumbered those invited by the conservative Sutherland Institute to a “Celebration of Marriage: Every Child Deserves a Mom and a Dad.” QSaltLake estimates 300 anti-marriage equality supporters to 500 inclusive marriage supporters.
Many gay marriage supporters held signs with such slogans as, “Love Makes a Family,” “Love Every Family,” and a family on the top floor of the Capitol Building held individual signs spelling out, “Traditional Family Not Worried.” Supporters were mostly silent, except when a few speakers talked about justice and equality, especially during the Pledge of Allegiance’s “with equality and justice for all.” Also, as the event ended the crowd erupted chanting, “marriage equality now.” The chanting continued as marriage equality opponents filtered out of the building.
Keynote speaker Gov. Gary Herbert spoke very briefly, leading some to believe he changed his speech in light of the overwhelming presence of same-sex marriage supporters. He invoked a quote from Socrates, who is largely believed to have been gay, to the traditional marriage supporters. He also said that that all of those in the building, seemingly including the same-sex marriage supporters, would agree that the foundation of a successful community is successful families.
“To have successful communities, we need successful families,” he said.
Alan Osmond and his wife Suzanne emceed the event, and many of his children performed throughout the evening. Alan Osmond has written articles on is website saying that homosexuality can be “cured” through “ex-gay therapies” and that they have a greater than 50 percent success rate. He has also written that homosexuality is an abomination.
The rallies were held during the same week the U.S. Supreme Court heard a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 as well as a case challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. A decision is not expected until June but proponents of marriage equality were cautiously optimistic after the hearings.
Locally, the Mormon Church issued a statement asking the Supreme Court to uphold bans on recognizing same-sex marriages.
“We firmly support the divinely appointed definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman because it is the single most important institution for strengthening children, families, and society,” the statement read.