Stand for Marriage rally draws hundreds


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SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of supporters of traditional marriage gathered for a “Stand for Marriage” rally held in the State Capitol rotunda on Sept. 18.

The Provo-based organization Celebration of Marriage planned the event as an opportunity for citizens to unite their voices with dozens of states and other groups, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and plead for the Supreme Court to hear Utah’s case on same-sex marriage. Last year, a federal judge struck down an amendment to Utah’s Constitution that bans same-sex marriage, saying it was unconstitutional.

“In a few short days, on Sept. 29, the Supreme Court will decide whether to accept Utah’s case,” said Mary Fielding Summerhays, founder of Celebration of Marriage, in her speech at the event. “We welcome the opportunity to let our voices be heard.”

Speakers at the rally were made up of legislators, attorneys and social activists. Some spoke about the judicial process that lay ahead, while others focused on the effect a change in the marriage law might have on children in the future.

“Thirty-one states are depending on Utah to defend marriage at the Supreme Court,” Summerhays said.

Gene C. Schaerr, a BYU graduate who will act as lead attorney for Utah’s case should the Supreme Court decide to hear it, described many of the points he will make before the court. He spoke of the legal precedent that supports “the right of every state in the Union to make their own decision about difficult, challenging social issues.”

“I’m not predicting victory, but I will tell you, I am not pessimistic about our chances in the Supreme Court,” he said.

Many prestigious activists attended the event to lend their support and energize the audience, including Jennifer Roback Morse, president and founder of the Ruth Institute, and Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

“Whatever any court decides does not end this fight,” Brown said. “The court does not decide the definition of marriage.”

The concluding speaker at the rally was David Hunsaker, a Ph.D student in Organizational Behavior at the University of Utah. He gave suggestions on what supporters of traditional marriage can do to educate themselves about the issue and also tactfully share their opinions with others. He recommended visiting the website as a way to get started.

Various entertainers also contributed to the program, including Jake Hunsaker, of BYU’s Vocal Point.

Protesters of Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage gathered outside the Capitol to address media and share their viewpoints. Some also entered the rally to peacefully protest.

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