WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two Roselle Park residents, the former Mayor Joe DeIorio and his husband Thos Shipley, made the trip to Washington to cover the awaited Supreme Court verdict on same-sex marriage.
Here, in their own words, they report on their experience there (their report is subjective, and as such, is not reflective of TAPinto.net editorial position of objectivity):
Two years ago, the day after our engagement, Thos and I stood at this very place in front of the Supreme Court. We took an active part in a rally on front of the steps of the United States Supreme Court on the day oral arguments were heard for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 ban against same sex marriage.
Today we stood here once again, on a sunny day with the same motivation, energy and hope that the American government we believe in and proud to be a part of would address an issue that affects the core of our being – marriage equality. And today we would participate again with hundreds of others in making that history.
Washington D.C., the United States Supreme Court is where landmark decisions on the interpretation of the Constitution takes place affecting the lives of millions. And now history would be made, as SCOTUS would hear oral arguments from the case Obergefell v. Hodges, et al, in an attempt to make a decision whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. And further, does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
One of the points of contention among the justices, plaintiffs and respondents was the question whether the states should allow democracy to rule this decision over time with public discourse and debate. The argument was that the concept of same sex marriage was too new for the Supreme Court to hear but rather have the people decide.
What the participants could not see inside court chambers was the debate among Americans that took place outside. This is where we were again, participating with hundreds of others from around the county.
However, there was a noticeable difference this time. In 2013, the two opposing forces were separated by space and location. Rather proponents of marriage equality and those who would define traditional marriage are much more physically intertwined. You see, there was more at stake this time around. Today would be the day that the hearing before the court would ultimately determined the fate of all same sex couples and traditional marriage proponents alike, throughout the United States.
Outside, there was an odd sense being. Sometimes we would chant with our fellow allies to be only a few steps away from the proverbial “lion’s den.”
We walked through the crowd with people holding signs exclaiming “Love Is Love” and those with the “=” that has come to be synonymous with support for marriage equality interspersed with those touting “One Man One Woman”, “Sin and Damnation.” This montage scored by strains of We Shall Overcome sung by the Washington DC Gay Men’s chorus, punctuated by shouts of ”Lesbian and Gays will burn in hell”, “Repent!” and scripture being read over bullhorns.
Mind boggling and at times tenuous, speakers for marriage equality and speakers for traditional marriage would have podiums only 20 feet apart. Individuals pushing limits.…Cheerleading, vulgarity, prayer, ignorance, profanity, all speech, free and protected under the constitution; shouting to be loudest and to be heard the most.
We found ourselves in the midst of a face-to-face confrontation when an individual dressed in sackcloth, a marine cap equipped with a bullhorn blasted vitriolic insults at a gay air force serviceman in uniform with his partner. The serviceman’s partner turned to confront him, nose to nose, both yelling. Would this be the spark to that would incite violence? It was only a fraction of a moment that the serviceman pulled his partner back from a potential fight.
Frustrations ran high at times, the emotions of fear and hate being expressed. Sometime serious, other times comical, it was organized anarchy and we were in the center of it. It was evident that those in favor along with those against, stood up, spoke up and made all voices heard.
Today’s rally was just a microcosm of the larger debate among Americans over the decades- a culmination of time and study on this issue. The justices should be assured that that the debate and discourse has taken place. And now it is up to them, as the system of the government our forefathers created, to rule.