Americans who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman are marching today in Washington DC, and are set to hear from prominent religious and political figures.
With thousands expected to attend the March for Marriage – organised by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) – the event will conclude with supporters demonstrating outside the US Supreme Court.
Former US Governor Mike Huckabee and New York Senator Revd Ruben Diaz are among the speakers expected to address the crowds.
Earlier this month the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco faced criticism for planning to attend the march from the city’s Mayor and the President of a pro-gay group.
But in an open letter Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said the event is “pro-marriage”, and not “anti-anyone or anti-anything”.
“Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context”, he said, adding that he would be happy to meet and discuss the issue with those who called for him to cancel.
NOM said: “The best and surest way to safeguard the basic rights of free exercise and free expression for pro-marriage individuals and communities, especially individuals and communities of faith, is to rally the American people behind the cause and give them the courage and support they need to stand up and speak out on its behalf”.
The March for Marriage “sends a clear message to every level of society that a majority of Americans still stand for marriage as it has been traditionally and historically defined and handed down through the centuries”, the March’s website commented.
The March for Marriage is being screened live on www.marriagemarch.org, and supporters are encouraged to use social media to publicise the event – including #March4Marriage.