June 24, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
LGBT advocates outside Supreme Court remain ‘optimistic’
Proposition 8, Prop 8, DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act, Supreme Court, gay rights, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Activists held signs and a flag in front of the Supreme Court in hopes of a decision on the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Same-sex marriage supporters who gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said they remain hopeful the justices will strike down California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

“We’re hopeful and optimistic that even out of a conservative court is going to come a strong opinion for equality,” Jonathan Lewis of Brookline, Mass., told the Washington Blade as he stood outside the court with his husband of nearly six years, Jonathan Adlar, and their 10-week-old son.

David Baker, a D.C. resident who is originally from Salt Lake City, held a sign outside the Supreme Court that read “Gay Mormon for marriage equality.”

He told the Blade shortly after he learned the justices would not issue a ruling on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases until at least Tuesday that he feels “civil marriage is a civil right.” Baker, who is also a member of Affirmation, an LGBT Mormon group, added same-sex couples in Utah and other states without marriage rights for gays and lesbians would receive federal benefits if the justices strike down DOMA.

“What’s going through my mind is a lot of hopes and prayers that things break our way — that things break for the right side of history,” Baker said.

Gays and lesbians can legally marry in nine states and D.C.

Delaware’s same-sex marriage law will take effect on July 1. Gays and lesbians in Minnesota and Rhode Island will be able to exchange vows as of August 1, while four Michigan lawmakers on Monday introduced a bill that would allow nuptials for same-sex couples in their state.

Supreme Court passersby largely support same-sex marriage

One man held a poster of a gay couple kissing with the word “sodomy” written beneath it as he stood across the street from the Supreme Court on Monday as the decisions were announced. The vast majority of passersby and others who have gathered outside the court over the last week, however, have supported same-sex marriage.

“It will change everyone’s lives, make it so much more fair and equitable,” Mara McKennen of Richmond, Va., told the Blade on Friday as she watched Dennis Niekro and Paul Richmond of Columbus, Ohio, and 24 other same-sex couples marry at the Supreme Court.

Elizabeth North of Florida added she feels a decision that would strike down DOMA would help same-sex marriage advocates in the Sunshine State who last week launched a campaign to overturn a 2008 constitutional amendment that bans nuptials for gays and lesbians.

“It just gives us a leg to stand on,” she told the Blade. “It gives us something to fight with.”

Gwenn Andrix, a transgender woman from Bowling Green, Ohio, who also traveled to D.C. on Friday to attend the mass same-sex wedding that took place outside the Supreme Court, agreed as she held LGBT and trans Pride flags.

“I’m hoping they (the justices) move the country forward,” she told the Blade.

Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami, Jeff Zarillo, Proposition 8, Prop 8, DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act, Supreme Court, gay rights, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo, plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case, enter the Supreme Court. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo, plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case, did not speak to reporters as they left the Supreme Court with Ted Olson and David Boies and Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, who co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights that filed the lawsuit against California’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban.

“Obviously we all want to get these rulings and are hopeful that they’re going to be everything we want,” Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson told the Blade on Monday as he left the Supreme Court. “What we know is no matter what the court does, we have to keep pushing. And we have victory within reach as long as we keep reaching.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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