WASHINGTON — Plans for a national March for Marriage in downtown Washington are generating excitement and enthusiastic support, according to organizers of the event.
The upcoming March for Marriage “is an opportunity to witness to the culture about our pro-marriage beliefs,” said Thomas Peters, cultural director for the National Organization for Marriage.
Peters told Catholic News Agency that coming together visibly to support the institution of marriage is critically important.
The National Organization for Marriage announced in late January that it would be hosting a March for Marriage in the nation’s capital on March 26.
The date coincides with the first day of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry. The lawsuit challenges California’s Proposition 8, a state measure recognizing marriage existing solely between a man and a woman.
Hollingsworth v. Perry is one of two cases on same-sex “marriage” that the nation’s high court will consider this year. The other challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for all federal purposes.
The two cases are both expected to yield landmark decisions that will set the tone for the definition of marriage throughout the nation. Decisions in both cases are expected in late June.
Neither the schedule nor the official route of the upcoming March for Marriage has been made public, but information will be added to the march website, MarriageMarch.org, as it becomes available.
Despite the limited amount of information released thus far, Peters said that reactions have “been very positive” and enthusiastic.
“We actually just have a lot of people calling the office saying, ‘What can I do to help?’” he explained.
Peters added that the march will aim to create a “very broad, diverse coalition” in defense of marriage.
So far, the event is receiving strong support from CatholicVote.org, a nonprofit group that works to educate and mobilize the faithful in adherence with Church teaching, as well as signatories of the Manhattan Declaration, a statement by Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians pledging support for “the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.”
Each of the two groups has more than half a million supporters.
Additionally, organizers are working with leaders of the African-American community, representatives on Capitol Hill and other pro-marriage organizations to gain additional support.
Peters said that individuals and groups “from all over the country” have been pledging their support and attendance as well.
“It’s really exciting to see that much interest before we’ve given people a plan to work with,” he said.
Peters hopes that the march will help people stand up for the nature and meaning of marriage in the face of adversity.
“I think there’s been a lot of effort in trying to silence people of faith from sharing their view on marriage, and that’s a very disturbing trend,” he explained. “I think that simply showing up and doing something in person really does help break that barrier for people.”
While taking a stance for marriage may draw criticism, he acknowledged, such opposition “comes with the territory,” and solidarity with other supporters can make it easier to publically defend one’s beliefs.
Although the march is taking place on a serious day for those advocating for marriage in court, Peters said that the event is “going to be a joyful occasion.”
He described the upcoming March for Marriage as a “celebration of the gift of marriage,” focusing on the “celebration of life and of the next generation” found within the institution.