By: Emily Conley
Before the March for Marriage on April 25th, I didn't really know what to expect. I assumed there'd be a few hundred people waving signs and chanting, a few speeches on the purpose of marriage, and then a short walk to the Supreme Court.
I was not expecting what took place on the mall.
I arrived early, and already, organizations had set up camp around the edges of the field, a knot of people gathered under every banner. Then a pre-rally broke out on one side of the field, as the early arrived marchers broke out in song and prayer.
Then came the buses.
I watched as thousands of people flooded onto the mall. Dads and moms pushing strollers, older siblings helping grandparents maneuver walkers over the uneven ground.
I was struck by the diversity represented. Catholics, Orthodox, Baptists, Pentecostal, Evangelicals - theological differences were set aside to march together. Children, teens, and elderly walked side by side. Multiple ethnicities were represented, and the rally speakers were either bi-lingual or had a translator.
We all see the polls - America is split on marriage, somewhere around the halfway point. But to be honest, even though around 50% supports marriage, it often feels very lonely. Ultimately, I know that history already demonstrates who's on the "right side," but in the meantime, it get's discouraging.
But as I watched the thousands of families streaming across the grass, I fought back tears as the realization came over me. This, this, is what we're fighting for: for families like these, for the right to make our voices heard, for our future.
Even the most gifted rally speaker couldn't compete with that moment.
After the speakers, the actual march to the Supreme Court began.
I hung back to take photos and videos, so the program on the Supreme Court steps was almost over when I arrived. After capturing a few last photos, I started walking back the way I'd come. A steady stream of people still filled the sidewalks going the other direction, on their way to the court.
I don't know how many people were there, and ultimately, as we wrote last week, it doesn't matter. Sometimes, we are called to stand alone.
But sometimes, we're not as alone as we feel.