Same-sex marriage supporters hold candlelight vigil - WKRN News 2

Same-sex marriage supporters hold candlelight vigil

Posted: Updated: March 26, 2013 10:45 PM

More than 100 supporters of same-sex marriage gathered Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil.

The vigil took place at 6:30 p.m. at OutCentral on Church Street in downtown Nashville.

"It is going to happen," said Kristen Chapman-Gibbons. "It's just a matter of how many people have to wait for the chance to just be like everybody else."

Chapman-Gibbons went to the vigil to support her gay and lesbian family and friends.

"I'm a straight ally here in town with a husband and kids, and all of my family, we believe all families are equal, and that all families should be treated equal," she said.

Tennessee Equality Project scheduled the event between two days of U.S. Supreme Court hearings regarding same-sex marriage.

"We'll hear arguments this morning in case 12144 Hollingsworth versus Perry," said Justice John Roberts during the first hearing Tuesday.

Hollingsworth v. Perry is an appeal out of California that deals with the controversial Proposition 8 and the right for same-sex couples to marry.

United States v. Windsor, a case scheduled to go before the court Wednesday, deals with the right of homosexual married couples to receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples.

The two cases come at time when American public opinion appears to be shifting in favor of permitting gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics joined numerous other medical organizations in support of same-sex marriage through a policy statement.

The Academy's research revealed normal development of children of same-sex couples when a child is wanted and parents are committed with strong social and economic support.

"If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it's in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so," Dr. Ellen Perrin, policy co-author, said in a statement released online Thursday.

Several big name companies are also onboard with marriage equality.

Last year, Seattle-based Starbucks openly supported Washington state's referendum that legalized same-sex marriage.

Howard Shultz, CEO of the worldwide coffee chain, defended his decision last week during a shareholder meeting.

"The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity," said Schultz.

Washington is now among nine states and the District of Columbia to legally allow same-sex marriage.

Invitations for Tuesday's vigil in Nashville were sent through social media, which has also increased support and awareness.

Countless Facebook and Twitter users changed profiles pictures and avatars to an image of a red and pink equal sign Tuesday.

The sign is being used by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, to mobilize supporters online.

"I feel like it's time for a major change, and yeah, I think we will have it," said Gary Douglas following Tuesday's candlelight vigil. "Let's all hope that our government is going to say, for once, 'You're all human, and you all deserve to be treated right.'"

There is wide speculation on how the Supreme Court will rule in either case.

A ruling is not expected until June.

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