Rally Supports Same-Sex Marriage Rights

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SCRANTON -- In the ongoing debate over gay rights and marriage equality, the fight involving same-sex marriage is now at our nation's highest court.

Tuesday, the Supreme Court began hearing testimony on two cases while outside the courthouse and around the nation, supporters held rallies, including one in the Electric City.

Courthouse Square in Scranton was fired up with passion and candlelight, as people rallied in support of gay rights and marriage equality.

“People should be able to have marriage equality,” said Deirdre Spellman of Scranton.  “If people want to, you know, that`s the strength of our community, when people have strong marriages and to not support that to me is not American.”

This event comes as the nation`s high court is taking on two cases involving same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court heard testimony on Proposition 8, California`s ban on gay marriage, and is expected to hear discussion on a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the ban on gay marriage known as D.O.M.A..

Around the nation and in Scranton, people are pulling together to stand up for gay rights.

“We`re hoping to get awareness from Northeastern Pennsylvania's community that this is something that people are still fighting for, that there`s injustices for members in our community that really shouldn`t be,” said Nicole Hartung, one of the organizers.

Jim Howley and his partner Larry of 13 years say they've waited long enough to tie the knot.

“We had a commitment ceremony in 2005 and we had about 90 people and it was wonderful,” said Howley.  “But we`d really like it to make it official, make it legal so we can be protected with the same rights that other people are with in matrimony.”

This rally joins the national movement of rallies called United For Marriage: Light The Way To Justice and brought out more than hundred people to Courthouse Square.

Many here say it`s time that everyone has the right to the benefits marriage provides.

“Yeah they`re saying they have less rights than somebody else and last time I checked everybody should have rights, it says it in the constitution,” said Daniel Wales of Athens.