The Supreme Court has been busy this week, and while there’s plenty of excitement inside SCOTUS, most of the action was outside in the flurry of cameras, notebooks and audio recorders in the hands of scrambling reporters covering the decision.
Today’s landmark decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, and Proposition 8 drew not only an army of journalists, but also swarms of same-sex marriage proponents, along with a few supporters of traditional marriage. The Supreme Court voted in a 5-4 decision that DOMA was unconstitutional and voted that Proposition 8 was invalid.
The temperature and humidity were both fairly high, but that didn’t keep gay rights advocates, whose spirits were equally as high, from hanging around outside the court for hours to talk to as many reporters as they could. Much of the media also stayed for hours to talk to them.
Richard Bennett, a federal employee, was one of many excited same-sex marriage advocates wandering the sidewalk in front the court.
“I’m very happy about the DOMA ruling,” Bennett said. “This is going to make a significant difference to me in terms of benefits.”
Bennett echoed the feelings of many in the crowd that it’s a state by state battle now for nation-wide recognition of same-sex marriage.
“It bothers me that every day when I leave my home, I’m married, and when I get to work, I’m not married anymore,” Bennett said.
Barney Frank, the recently retired congressman from Massachusetts, was also on site to talk to reporters. Frank, who is openly gay, was swarmed by journalists armed microphones and notebooks to get his opinion on the decisions.
Many broadcast networks set up camp on the sidewalk just outside of SCOTUS, cutting in and out of live shots on the scene. The interns sprinting back to their respective organizations with the decisions have gotten media attention themselves, courtesy of BuzzFeed.
Interns and veterans alike both sweated it out as they remained in the heat looking for different stories and angles. There were many gay marriage advocates, but FBDC only saw one supporter of traditional marriage who was actively protesting the decision.
His name is Ronald Brock, and he’s a missionary who drives what he calls a “truth truck” around the country to preach Christian ideals. His reaction to the decision, he told FBDC, was, “Supreme Court, you are not God,” which was printed in big letters on a sign he held up.
“The Constitution hasn’t changed, God’s word hasn’t changed, we’ve just lost are moral marbles,” Brock said.
He added that the media coverage of gay rights issues has played a role in the country’s acceptance of same-sex marriage. Acknowledging that he was possibly the only one opposing the SCOTUS decision on DOMA, he said that gay rights advocates take action, while traditional marriage supporters are only willing to talk and not take action.
Brock was certainly doing a lot of talking to reporters, as most were making sure to get quotes from both sides of the argument, as he held his sign.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. was also present, and very excited. They sang “Make Them Hear You” and the National Anthem in front of the steps of the Supreme Court for a swarm of media. Bob Sheavle, who has been in the chorus for over a decade, said the group has been heavily involved in same-sex marriage advocacy.
“Singing for something as deep as your sexual orientation, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Sheavle said.
By early afternoon, the crowd was starting to thin, as well as some of the media. Many were braving the heat, though, such as Brian Mooar and his crew from NBC News (shown above), and continuing to cut to a live broadcast or talk to what was left of the crowd.