Gay marriage supporters rally in downtown Tampa - FOX 13 News

Gay marriage supporters rally in downtown Tampa

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

When it comes to the gay marriage debate, everyone has an opinion. This week, no one's opinion will matter more than the nine men and women who sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tuesday, the justices heard arguments about California's controversial "Prop 8" Amendment, which bans same-sex marriage there.

Wednesday, they'll focus on the "Defense of Marriage Act" which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The marriage ban could be overturned, or redefined to be left up to the states. There are several potential outcomes.

The message at Tampa's rally could be summed up in one word: Equality.

Participants carried flags and signs, lighting the street with a message of "equality now" across from the U.S. courthouse in Tampa.

Some, like Cathy James and her partner Judy, came because they aren't legally allowed to marry.

"We've been together for 18 years and this is a picture of our son Tyler when he was just over a year old," James said.

Tyler spoke about marriage equality in front the crowd.

"My parents, my two moms, they mean the world to each other and I mean the world to them," he said.

The equal right to love in the eyes of the law is what the crowd supported.

"I think it's the same kind of arguments that were made during interracial marriage. It just seems like a real shame that any person would stop another person from loving each other," said Sam Gibbons.

"I believe that all of us are created equal before God and we have certain equal rights, and whatever rights are extended to some need to be extended to all," said John Ransom.

However , those arguing for the ban say the Constitution is silent on the issue and it's up to the states. For many, the place to show support wasn't at the rally, attended by several dozen people. Instead, thousands shared a symbol on Facebook of an equal sign over red.

"I think if anybody paying attention on Facebook or Pinterest or any electronic means could see there's a groundswell of support for the whole topic of equality, which includes gay marriage," said Lisa Brock.

Gay marriage may be at the heart of the debate, but to supporters, the issue at hand is beyond labels.

"This is important for our friends, our family, whether you are gay or straight," said Lily Romball.

The outcome of the court's discussions on both cases will be decided by the end of June.


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