Civil Liberties

March on Marriage Fails to Attract a Crowd at the Capitol, Gallup Knows Why


a picture of a protest at the U.S. Capitol
Credit: Courage Campaign @couragecampaign

Last Thursday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) held its second annual March on Marriage at the U.S. Capitol Building. Despite boasting big conservative names such as former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the event ended up having a tiny turnout.

Less than a month before the protest, Brian Brown, the president of NOM, wrote a blog post titled "Demand for Buses Is Overwhelming—We Need Your Help." He announced that his friend, New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz, was bringing over 100 buses and more than 5,000 people. Diaz also put out a press release the week before saying that anyone could ride the bus completely free of charge.

The Washington Blade estimated that there were about 2,000 people total in attendance. The picture in the top right shows a sparse crowd. The folks who did show up were surprisingly lethargic. Gawker noted that:

Even when implored to participate, these people who presumably took off work to prove how invested they are in maintaining gays' second-class citizenship, were quiet and otherwise unenthusiastic.

One reason for the apathy from New York may have been that same-sex marriage has been legal there for three years already. Diaz's press release acknowledges the uphill battle:

You should also know that even though the New York State Legislature voted to approve the legality of same-sex marriage, we will still keep fighting the good fight and providing testimony that there are millions and millions of Americans who believe that the people should be allowed to vote on this matter. This way, instead of judges and legislators imposing their definition of marriage on our society, the people can decide once and for all.

But it's not clear a vote would come out how Diaz imagines. The most recent Gallup poll on the subject from last month shows that a record high 55 percent of Americans think that same-sex couples should be "recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages." In many states, the people have already spoken and have decided in a popular vote that same-sex marriage should be legal. Abroad, France, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, and many other countries now allow for gay marriage as well.