Conservative, traditional people celebrated marriage as a union between a man and a woman at the Utah State Capitol on March 26. However, alongside them a hoard of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied counterparts lauded marriage in its diverse form.
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 splayed with “Love Makes a Family” and “Love Every Family” and “Traditional Family Not Worried.” Supporters were mostly silent, except when a few speakers talked about justice and equality, particularly during the Pledge of Allegiance’s “with equality and justice for all.” At the close of the gathering, the crowd erupted in “marriage equality now,” chanting the words 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 the crowd, seemingly including the same-sex marriage supporters, that a foundation had to be laid.
“To have successful communities, we need successful families,” he said.
Alan Osmond and wife Suzanne emceed the event, and many of their children performed throughout the evening. Osmond has written articles on his website claiming 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 rally was 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 marriage.
“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.