A crowd came to the Utah State Capitol Rotunda Tuesday night to celebrate marriage, marking the first of two days when the U.S. Supreme Court heard its oral arguments on the marriage cases before it concerning Prop. 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. The theme was “Every child deserves a mom and a dad.” Similar celebrations were held in other states across the country.
An equal number of protestors wearing red t-shirts with “=” signs and placards filled the stairs of the capitol and hung over the hallways above the floor, often chanting.
The program was emceed by Alan and Suzanne Osmond with Governor Gary R. Herbert addressing the crowd.
Speakers included various religious leaders and politicians with entertainment provided by family groups like “The Osmond Girls”, a third generation Osmond singing group. We’ve included several of the talks in today’s features, but here we quote the words of 13-year-old Amelia Summerhays, who captured a child’s point of view with a touch of humor:
“As a thirteen-year-old, I’ve got it all figured out why I need a mom and a dad. When Mom says no to ice cream, I can go ask Dad. And when I want to invite boys over, Dad says no, so I go ask Mom.
“But really, I’m here to talk about why every child deserves a mom and dad. From my mother, I have a pattern to follow, and I can learn what it means to be a woman. Certain understandings can only happen between a mother and daughter. I would pattern my cooking after my mom’s, but she burned dinner twice last week. Actually, she lit it on fire. She isn’t perfect. No mother is, but in my world, she can’t be replaced.
“My father protects me and helps me to figure out the immature minds of those boys I want to invite over. My dad’s example and advice helps me see the male perspective and brings a balance to my life as a young woman.
“When I was eight or nine, I had a close friend whose parents were getting divorced. She asked me, “If you had to give up one parent, which would you choose?” I could not decide. My mom and dad both have their strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes down to it, I need both parents.
“As a thirteen-year-old, it’s funny to watch adults fight about this issue. Sometimes adults act like selfish children. Most of what I hear in the current debate about marriage is all about adults rights. I’ve noticed that children’s rights are often ignored. Children are defenseless, so shouldn’t they be the main focus in this debate? When we favor the wants of consenting adults over the needs of children, who cannot consent, something is very wrong.
“In my US history class, studying Thomas Jefferson was sometimes difficult. He was always talking about “inalienable rights” and saying things like “we hold these truths to be self-evident.” It took m e a couple of tries, but I think I get it now. Here’s why:
“On the day I was born, I automatically had a relationship with my mother and father. I’ve heard that my mom was exhausted but still insisted on holding me close. Dad was bouncing off the walls, calling everyone to tell them the good news. All this, and they had only known me for a matter of seconds. That’s the power of a biological bond. It happens naturally. That’s what ‘self-evident’ means.
“Whether you call it nature or God, each of us exists only through a mom and a dad. Every person has that exact same birthright. If ever I was ‘endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights,’ this is it—to be born with a mom and dad. Why? Because it is impossible to be born any other way. Traditional marriage is designed to protect this inalienable right given by our Creator. When we redefine marriage, we begin to fight against the inalienable rights of children. Tonight I am here to represent all children, and I would like to say one more thing in our behalf. We hold these truths to be self-evident, it takes a mom and a dad to create a child, so it takes a mom and a dad to raise one.”