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March for Marriage to Supreme Court: Don’t Hand Us Another Roe

March for Marriage 2013

National Organization for Marriage

John Burger - published on 06/17/14 - updated on 06/08/17

Brian Brown defends event against those charging it's hate-filled.

Brian Brown will preside over the second March for Marriage on Thursday, hoping that increased attendance and a demonstration of broad support for marriage between one man and one woman will send a strong signal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It was as the court was hearing arguments in two key marriage cases last year that Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, led the first March for Marriage in March of 2013. After several thousand people walked from the National Mall to the steps of the Supreme Court, where they were met by crowds demonstrating in favor of same-sex “marriage,” participants returned to the Mall to hear a slate of speakers.

One of them was Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who heads a committee of the U.S. Bishops Conference that was established in the face of growing popularity for same-sex “marriage.” Archbishop Cordileone, who had recently begun his tenure as archbishop of San Francisco, a city known for being “gay-friendly,” emphasized in his speech that he spoke out of love for fellow human beings, not out of any kind of hatred for people who hold different views.

“There are probably a lot of people watching us who disagree with us on this issue,” he said at the 2013 rally. “We say to you: ‘We love you. We are your neighbors and we want to be your friends, and we want you to be happy. … Please try to listen to us fairly and calmly.’”

Archbishop Cordileone plans to speak at the march again this year, in spite of calls from political and religious figures for him to boycott an event that they allege fosters hatred of homosexuals. Nancy Pelosi, the congresswoman from San Francisco, characterized the event as "venom masquerading as virtue."

Aleteia spoke to Brian Brown this week about the controversy and other issues related to the defense of marriage.

What do you think about Nancy Pelosi and others trying to talk Archbishop Cordileone out of speaking at your rally?

Standing up for the traditional definition of marriage is not hateful, and unfortunately politicians like Nancy Pelosi and [California Lt. Gov.] Gavin Newsom are now at a point of actually thinking that groups like NOM and the Family Research Council and anyone who stands up to defend traditional marriage, let alone speak about homosexuality, should somehow be banished from the public square, and it sort of proves our point that this movement is not really—at least for some—about having an open, fruitful dialogue or a public debate but it’s about shutting down one side of the debate.

So I think it’s unfortunate and I think that just factually, some of the claims that they’re making are simply untrue. We always worked to affirm the dignity of all human beings, but that does not mean that somehow supporting traditional marriage is against the dignity of all human beings, but that is what they are now trying to say, even going so far as to say that Catholic bishops shouldn’t stand together with people of other faiths to proclaim the truth about marriage.

But I have no doubt—it never crossed my mind that the archbishop won’t be there. Of course he’ll be there. He stands up for the truth, and we’ve gotten support from a number of bishops and archbishops around the country who are sending buses, sending out fliers in the dioceses. I’m very happy with the diverse ecumenical and interreligious support that we have. I don’t think anyone’s going to be scared out of standing up for what they know to be true.

This year it seems like every week there’s been a court overturning a state’s law restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Why has marriage been losing so much lately?

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