Organized by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the march is expected to bring together several social conservative organizations and their supporters to make public their support of Prop 8.
Proposition 8 was a California ballot initiative, passed in 2008, which defined marriage for the California state constitution as being between one man and one woman. That amendment was challenged in court by gay activists who said it was discriminatory, and the case now will go before the Supreme Court.
NOM spokesman Thomas Peters told CNSNews.com that the march is intended to show the “positive face” of supporters of traditional marriage.
“We're organizing the march to show the positive face of the pro-marriage movement, as well as demonstrate our commitment to promoting a stronger marriage culture in society,” Peters said. “It's also an opportunity to demand that the courts respect the rights of the millions of Americans who have voted to protect marriage in their state constitutions.”
Among the march’s sponsors are some of the largest social conservative organizations in the country, including the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and Concerned Women for America (CWA).
The Supreme Court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments March 26, the day of the march.
The march is scheduled to begin with a procession starting on the National Mall, moving up Capitol Hill, and ending in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, before proceeding back down to the Mall for a rally featuring several religious clergy and social conservative leaders, including Penny Nance, president of CWA and Gary Bauer, a former GOP presidential candidate.
Some religious communities have already begun organizing for the event; the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging parishioners to attend the protest.
“The march will be a significant opportunity to promote and defend marriage and the good of our nation, to pray for our Supreme Court justices, and to stand in solidarity with people of good will,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Bishop Kevin Rhoades wrote in a February 25 letter to Catholic ministers, urging them to encourage their congregations to participate.
“We realize that the march will occur during the solemn days of Holy Week, but we ask that you consider promoting this event in your diocese and parishes and encourage participation where possible,” the priests wrote.
Cordileone – chairman of the Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth committee at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – is also scheduled to speak at the march.
Organizers told CNSNews that while they do not have a firm estimate on attendance, they are expecting busloads of supporters from as far away as Florida, New York, and the Midwest, in addition to their local mobilization efforts in the mid-Atlantic states.