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At the Supreme Court, arguments on gay marriage inside and out

WASHINGTON — With arguments underway Wednesday in the Supreme Court over whether the federal government should recognize gay marriage, activists on both sides of the debate competed for eardrums outside by cranking up the volume of protest songs coming from boom boxes.

As on Tuesday, gay marriage supporters vastly outnumbered opponents.

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Supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to legally married gay couples, waved signs reading “Kids do best with a mom and dad” and “Appeal to Heaven.” Some referred to biblical verses, including a man in sackcloth carrying a Bible, a ram’s horn and a sign citing Mark 10:6-7: “God made them male and female, and said ... a man shall be joined to his wife.”

PHOTOS: Supreme Court considers gay marriage

Proponents of same-sex marriage chanted, “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Equality! Now!” About halfway through the arguments inside the court, gay marriage supporters launched a rally on the steps. “It will be another fun and exciting day,” said a speaker for the Human Rights Campaign, which organized the event. “Let’s get this party started!”

Monika Vinje, a student at George Washington University studying international relations, said she stayed up late Monday night with a group of friends making signs. She waved a poster that read, “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, cuz the gays are getting married.”

“I’m excited to see the progress,” she said, gesturing to the hundreds of gay marriage supporters waving rainbow flags and American flags around her.

“Look at all this positive energy,” Vinje said. “I believe in equality for all.”

Gay marriage through the years

A friend standing with Vinje had written a message on a piece of cardboard torn from a shipping box: “Every couple deserves the right to argue over a cheesy wedding song.”

Nearby, a man held a sign that read, “Jesus had two dads, he turned out OK.”

James Manship came to the court dressed as George Washington, in a navy and tan Continental Army uniform with seven stars on the epaulets. Manship gives speeches in character as the first president. He said allowing same-sex marriages threatens to tear apart the fabric that holds the country together.

“If we destroy the institution for the production of children, we ruin the system for the republic to be perpetuated into the future,” he said, holding an early American naval flag that read: “Appeal to Heaven.”

Blair Dottin-Haley, a gay African American man who got married in Washington, D.C., compared his situation to that of his grandparents, who fought for equal rights in the 1960s.

FULL COVERAGE: Battle over gay marriage

“Separate but equal never worked,” he said. “It never worked because it’s not actually equal.”

Dottin-Haley and his partner live in Virginia, a state that bans same-sex marriage.

“This is this generation’s Brown v. Board of Education that is being heard today,” he said, referring to the landmark school desegregation case.

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brian.bennett@latimes.com

Twitter: @ByBrianBennett

wes.venteicher@latimes.com


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