Gay marriage supporters and opponents demonstrate - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Gay marriage supporters and opponents demonstrate outside courthouse

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Those for and against gay marriage started lining up outside the U.S. Court of Appeals early Tuesday morning to make their voices heard. One group held a prayer rally at the bell tower, as another lined sidewalks with a sea of signs.

This is no doubt a controversial issue that hits many people personally. Some call it a matter of morals and faith in God. Others consider it an issue of human rights whose time has come.

Virginia is for lovers. How you define that love finds many Virginians at odds.

"This love between two men and two women is just as sacred as the love between a man and woman," said Rev. Robin Gorsline.

He and his partner have been together for 16 years.

"We have no legal marriage but we consider ourselves married because we stood up in front of God and family and friends and declared our love for each other and said we're living together forever," he said.

As he fights for gay couples to be able to marry, just across Bank Street were strong feelings from the opposition.

"Children need a mom and a dad," said Renee Colly.

"God made us to multiply, to create…We are put on this earth to multiply not to destroy," Henry Guevara added.

Gay marriage opponents point to the 2006 election when Virginians voted to define marriage as between a man and woman.

"If the people voted it in, that's our right to vote it in or out and we did vote it in and that's part of our constitution…We need to keep it there," Rhoda Thompson said.

But Beth Pepper and her wife believe it's time for a change. She compares it to the struggle many groups faced throughout history.

"Had it been put up to popular vote at the time, in the 20's for women with the right to vote, in the 60's with the civil rights act, and now for gay people, it would lose and it took the government holding up the constitution to say these are rights that belong to every American," Pepper said.

Strong protests on each side, but one thing unites them - their hope three federal judges will rule in their favor.

It could be weeks or even months before a decision is made. Many eyes and ears - even those outside of Virginia - will be paying close attention.

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