Gay marriage supporters confront opponents outside the Supreme Court

640px-CourtEqualJusticeSupporters of same sex marriage have thronged streets outside US Supreme Court building in Washington DC as justices consider two major gay rights cases.

On day two of the hearings, this time focused on the legality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), supporters waved placards declaring “This is what democracy looks like” and “Equality! Now!” Another read “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, cuz the gays are getting married.”

Opponents countered with banners reading ‘Kids do best with a mom and dad’ and ‘Appeal to Heaven’, the Los Angeles Times reports.

While one man dressed as George Washington to declare that “If we destroy the institution for the production of children, we ruin the system for the republic to be perpetuated into the future”, a gay marriage supporter compared the campaign to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

She told the paper:

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

But the mood amongst demonstrators on Wednesday was “more subdued” than on Tuesday, according to the BBC, when crowds of supporters and opponents danced and chanted outside the courtroom while the justices considered Californian constitutional amendment Proposition 8.

Meanwhile, some justices have expressed concerned about the US government’s decision not to defend DOMA in the hearings. Chief Justice John Roberts said the decision was unprecedented, while Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy said the situation was “very troubling”.

He later suggested that as a federal (national) law, DOMA could infringe on the right of states to define marriage.

“The question is whether or not the federal [US] government under a federalism system has the authority to regulate marriage,” he said.

Photo of the US Supreme Court building by Matt H. Wade via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

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