Supporters of the Stand for Marriage Movement filled the rotunda on the main floor of the Capitol and two levels of balconies. Fathers carried children on their shoulders and mothers cradled babies in their arms as they listened to state legislators, officials and personal testimonies in defense of Amendment 3, the amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
Crawford attended the meeting with a group of students supporting same-sex marriage and was escorted from the building after he repeatedly shouted “equality now” in the middle of State Attorney General Sean Reyes’s speech in defense of Utah’s case for Amendment 3 at the 10th Court of Appeals in Denver, Colo.
The group planned to sit in on the event and “glitter bomb” while chanting “equality now,” said Brittney Cobbley, a graduate student in anthropology who followed Crawford and police out of the building with a group that was denied reentry.
“We just wanted to share glitter love,” Cobbley said.
Abby Jager, a 14-year-old student at Treasure Mountain Junior High School, took part in the glitter-bombing and watched Crawford walk down the Capitol steps with police. Jager was covered in glitter, and her hair was wet — she said a conservative woman emptied a water bottle on her in the rotunda.
“I’m proud of what I did,” Jager said.
The group outside linked hands and began chanting when Reyes defended the state’s decision to allocate an estimated $2 million to the state’s case at the 10th Court of Appeals. Their chants were greeted by a chorus of booing from all three levels of the Capitol rotunda.
The event was one of two gatherings organized last night at the Capitol. The Stand for Marriage event began at 7 p.m. The Rally for Equality, which was organized in response, began on the Capitol steps at 5 p.m. and ended before the pro-traditional marriage rally. A group of activists in support of same-sex marriage stayed on the steps of the rotunda during the Stand for Marriage event.
Nicole Kay Brinkerhoff, a family science researcher and founder of a Stand for the Family, a student organization at BYU, said at the Capitol that her stance on traditional marriage has nothing to do with hating gays.
“I do not see them or treat them differently from myself … they deserve love and compassion,” she said.
She said that while two lesbian woman may make wonderful mothers, neither of them can ever be a father. And while two gay men may be great fathers, they will never be mothers. As a researcher, she thinks the influence of both a male and a female parent is necessary when raising children.
Allexis Herring attended the event and said that as a mother, she thinks heterosexual marriages bring “unique” qualities from both a man and woman that are essential in child rearing.
“Our child has both a father and a mother bringing those things that he needs,” Herring said.
Robert Oscar Lopez was raised in a lesbian household. He shared his story in a video shown at the rotunda, as he was unable to attend because of a change in travel plans.
He said he never would have been pegged as a struggling kid when he was growing up — he had straight A’s and plenty of friends. But as an adult, he learned what traditional families are like.
“I realized that I missed out on something,” he said.
Lopez begged the gay community to stop campaigning for the right to marry. He said many supporters of gay marriage want gay people to take the permission to marry as the last word and then “shut up and go away.”
Reyes said in his argument that supporters of traditional marriage have the “moral argument,” and State Sen. Stuart Reid (R-Ogden) said their stance has the “moral imperative.”
“Each and every one of you is needed to protect Utah from the gathering storm that is sweeping across the nation,” Reid said.
Both groups hoped to catch the attention of legislators, who were planning to ignore the same-sex marriage issue during the current legislative session.