Thousands of people gather at state capitol to rally for morality

By Lois Krafsky-Perry
Citizen Review Online

March 10, 2005

Olympia, WA - The sun was shining, the grass was green, and the dome of the State Capitol building, was sparkling in the bright sunshine, as the words of “God Bless America” echoed across the landscape. It was a beautiful spring day March 8, as approximately 10,000 people came to voice their opinions about traditional marriage.

The Defense of Marriage Act of 1998, which defines legal marriage as between a man and a woman, was voted
on by legislative representatives, for the people of Washington State. A challenge to the statutory law (RCW 2.04.010) has reached the Washington State Supreme Court, brought by 36 plaintiffs who are questioning
the constitutionality of the decision, because it limits marriage to heterosexual couples.

The attendees listened to speakers, sang Judeo-Christian and patriotic songs, and discussed the issue with those around them. Speakers from various groups spoke about the sanctity of marriage and exhorted people to continue to defend God’s laws. Speakers representing various groups spoke of the importance of defending the law, which was founded years ago by God and the U.S. and State Constitution. They asked for careful protection of these laws for the future of our children and grandchildren, who help hold the future of our state and nation.

Signs were seen all over the Capitol grounds, but most of them were in defense of marriage with one man and one woman. As people dialogued, some wanted the current law to stand, while others disagreed. Sean Saffold of Sequim was impressed by some of the conversations he was engaged in and said, “If you look back at different nations and how they fell---throughout history, immorality has been a major poison in the death of every great society.”

Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government (WERG) had a booth where literature and t-shirts were supplied to volunteers. President of the organization, Rev. Joe Fulten, spoke to the larger crowd, with words of encouragement and an exhortation to uphold the law. A few people in the crowd carried wooden crosses.

Approximately 300 people gathered on and near the steps of the Temple of Justice building. Across the walkway was the Legislative building, capped with the American Flag, blowing in the soft breeze. Law enforcement vehicles were parked between the buildings as well as several television crew vehicles. A large representation of law enforcement officers graced the entire grounds and also the steps of the justice building. The atmosphere was fairly calm.

Occasionally a man dressed in a type of military garb and carrying a sign supplied by the conservative voice, traveled between the crowds and sent a mixed message by an occasional chant. “One man--- one woman, one woman --- one man. Equality!” he hollered. It was unclear to many what his actual statement was meant to be.

Many of the people who gathered on the steps of the temple were friends, family, and supporters of the plaintiffs. Every few minutes, some of the plaintiffs would parade up and down the steps drawing shouts and applause from their comrades. Many of the young people were clad in white shirts, painted with rainbow colors. Some sported words on the back of their shirt, often misspelled, about, “equality” and supporting statements about same sex marriage. Many conservative people and Judeo-Christians also made statements with signs and many sang and prayed, as they observed the scene.

As the morning progressed, the area became flooded with other signs, as people placed themselves around the protestors with signs, which read, “Trust God” and posters carried by groups of teenagers and adults carried other Words (Scriptures) of the Bible. Some people stood in small groups singing and some prayed in various places near the crowd. Law enforcement personnel were particularly relieved that the area was peaceful and not unruly, which gives much credit to the citizens of Washington State.

One man asked a plaintiff supporter, if he had considered the medical problems associated with their lifestyle. He appeared to not understand. Teri Schweithale of Port Angeles asked a woman who was wearing Jewish prayer shawls, as she hugged her female partner. “How do you view your stand with the Torah? Do you believe in the Torah?” she asked. The woman said she knew the Torah, as she paid homage to her Rabbi, and then she listed a litany of sins in the Torah, and compared homosexuality as only one of them. This seemed to be her argument that her current lifestyle is acceptable, and apparently is in her Seattle church. Many from her church family were in attendance on their behalf.

Kris Hallis of Sequim observed the conversation and said, “that Jewish woman wearing prayer shawls, yarmulkes, and robes was one of the most disturbing scenes of my day. No humility, just rebellion. We all need to get involved in helping to maintain the integrity of the laws that protect marriage.”

A young man challenged Schweithale about her strong beliefs and defended his own lifestyle beliefs, although he is married to a woman, who he clung to as he conversed. It was interesting, in that she had not said anything about her beliefs as she asked them questions. A boy beside him said he wanted to get insurance for himself and his boyfriend. “You can indeed get insurance by contract,” said Schweithale, who told them they do not need to marry to buy insurance.

Many of the individual conversations were interesting to observe. One young lady argued with a man about
how she wanted to show her children that they could accept the lifestyle of her possible marriage to a woman. Someone asked her, “Where will you get your children?” She said she was young and did not have to think of that now.

As the time came for the nine Supreme Court judges to hear arguments, most of the crowd began to leave the premises. There was not much room in the courtroom and chairs and a television monitor were supplied in
the foyer of the temple for viewers to watch the proceedings. Much of the argument is using the constitution as a basis for both views.

The judges are not expected to make a final decision for several months.



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