Feb. 7, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

All Eyes on Supreme Court as Activists Descend on D.C.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Supreme Court visitors wait in line in light snow Monday to listen to oral arguments on two cases involving gay marriage.

Public opinion polls show increasing support for gay marriage, and more political candidates and elected officials have voiced their approval for same-sex marriages in the weeks leading up to this week’s arguments. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, last week said he’s a supporter and announced he has a gay son. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Bill Clinton, who signed DOMA into law, have both voiced their approval for same-sex marriage. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., announced her support over the weekend, followed by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who announced his conversion on Facebook on Monday.

Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf, whose clients at Elmendorf Ryan include the Human Rights Campaign, said the position on same-sex marriages “is becoming more and more the central question elected officials are going to have to answer.” He added that no serious contender for the Democratic presidential ticket in 2016 could oppose marriage equality.

And “more and more, it will be a litmus test for members and senators seeking support,” he said. “The voices against it are small and few.”

But organizers behind the March for Marriage, a demonstration in opposition to same-sex marriage, say they expect thousands of supporters to show up on the National Mall on Tuesday. Groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council are participating in the march, spearheaded by the National Organization for Marriage.

“We’re calling on the Supreme Court to respect the rights of over 45 million Americans who have voted to protect marriage in their state constitutions,” said Thomas Peters, a spokesman for the National Organization for Marriage.

The demonstrators against gay marriage will convene Tuesday morning on the Mall, then march to the Supreme Court and return back to the Mall for a rally, Peters said.

Tom McClusky, senior vice president of government affairs for the Family Research Council, said that in addition to his group’s involvement with the March for Marriage, his organization has been pressing its side with members of Congress and their aides and with religious leaders as part of its Stand for Marriage campaign.

As for the cases, McClusky noted that with the rally, he isn’t exactly calling on activists to lobby the Supreme Court. “We do ask them to pray, of course,” he said.

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