Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court convened for a second day of oral arguments surrounding the issue of gay marriage. Like Tuesday, a few thousand demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court while the Justices heard arguments inside. Unlike Tuesday, however, the demonstrators were almost exclusively in support of same-sex marriage. Apart from a few perennial protestors from Westboro Baptist Church, there were no opponents of gay marriage outside the Court.
As a result, the protest was more subdued than Tuesday’s, which featured a couple raucous interactions between opposing sides of the issue. Protest organizers also seemed keenly aware of how bad optics can do damage to an issue. The most common feature during the protest were miniature American flags, which numbered in the hundreds. At the time arguments were scheduled to begin, a large contingent of demonstrators joined in singing the National Anthem.
But for the signs, it had the feel, almost, of a Tea Party rally.
There were very few of the “professional protesters” who usually turn up at similar rallies. The only person in any kind of “costume” was, oddly a George Washington impersonator. He talked with Breitbart News about his campaign to change the photo of Washington on the dollar bill.
Most of the demonstrators were young, college aged kids. Several speakers stressed the point that young voters are most supportive of gay marriage. This fact, they said, made the eventual acceptance of gay marriage inevitable.
Inside, the Justices were weighing the fate of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Clinton in 1996. At issue is whether the federal government can deny married gay couples certain benefits and tax breaks allowed to heterosexual couples. It is potentially a more sweeping decision than the one argued yesterday, which focused on California’s state ban on gay marriage.
It is odd that gay marriage opponents skipped today’s hearing and demonstrations. Perhaps the winds have truly shifted.