SALT LAKE CITY - The battle in Washington over gay marriage reached the Utah Capitol on Tuesday. Opponents rallying against same-sex marriage were met with a counter protest held by those who support it.
"They have a right to their opinion, they have a right to express it, and so do we," said Randy Rasmussen, who attended the event with his family in an effort to show his support for traditional marriage. "We wanted to show our support for the institution of marriage."
Families like the Rasmussens filled the Capitol rotunda for an event that was given the backing of some local star and state power.
Gov. Gary Herbert made a brief appearance to give a speech, which carried a fairly neutral tone, and members of the Osmond family served as emcees and performers for the afternoon.
Nathan Osmond said, "Everyone in this room, that's something we all have in common, is that we all came from a mother and a father."
But surrounding their efforts were hundreds of same-sex marriage proponents protesting. As soon as the rally was underway, they filed in one by one, carrying signs, but saying nothing.
"It shouldn't be an abrasive sort of conflict type of a thing. I mean we can both exist in the same area," said Dylan Chindlund, who came out in support of gay marriage. "I guess all families are equal, and you don’t need necessarily a father and a mother."
Despite their contrasting views on the issue, the crowds representing both sides maintained a peaceful tone throughout the evening.
In lieu of the cases challenging Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act being in the U.S. Supreme Court, many just felt it was necessary to have a presence.
"Well it's great. I mean this is what America's about, a chance for us to share our feelings about issues we think are important," said Bill Duncan of the Marriage Law Foundation, one of several organizations that sponsored the event.
Rulings on the cases are not expected until late June.