Same-sex marriage protesters find little support

Joan Carbo (center) and protesters assail Gov. Corbett's decision not to appeal same-sex marriage ruling
Joan Carbo (center) and protesters assail Gov. Corbett's decision not to appeal same-sex marriage ruling (. JESSICA PARKS / Staff)
Posted: June 07, 2014

For the hour that Mike McMonagle and his allies stood in protest Thursday outside Gov. Corbett's office in Center City, they were spared from heat and rain. But little else went in their favor.

Drivers paid no attention to the 30 people holding rosaries and signs railing against same-sex marriage. A man spat on the ground at their feet. Soon, they had to share the sidewalk with other protesters - a younger, louder, more organized group.

While McMonagle's group spoke of the need to "defend our children" from nontraditional families, a group from Cook-Wissahickon School brought in actual children to make the case for increased state funding for arts and education.

The school's choir formed neat rows in front of the governor's office, with matching T-shirts and signs, and sang a Katy Perry song.

"You just got to ignite the light and let it shine . . .," the children sang.

"Holy Mary, Mother of God . . .," the protesters prayed louder.

"Cause, baby, you're a firework . . ."

"Pray for us sinners . . ."

McMonagle and his Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania find themselves for the first time on the losing side of the issue. In May, a federal judge overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, following a growing trend among courts and legislators, and in public opinion nationwide.

Corbett declined to appeal, sparking ire from McMonagle and others who had campaigned for him.

"It was a bad decision," said Patrick Baker of Malvern. "He should reverse his stand, and if he doesn't, there's no way he'll win the election. We won't vote for him. We'll find another way."

While McMonagle spoke to security about going up to Corbett's office, the group members prayed and spoke to anyone who would listen about what they called the natural law of marriage as solely for procreation.

Later, the scene grew tense when a few teenagers exited the building and mocked those opposing same-sex marriage, holding hands and saying: "We're just so gay for each other."

As they passed, the teenagers high-fived one of the young men working with the Wissahickon choir.

"How many high-fives have you guys gotten?" the young man teased.

"You wouldn't exist if you didn't have a mother and a father," coalition member Joan Carbo shot back.

"That's a very hateful message," was the response.

"You young people, you're the ones that are going to change this world, and you don't know what you're doing," Carbo shouted, rushing over and getting in the young man's face.

"That's right. That's what we're trying to do. Look at you, you're all a bunch of old white people," said the young man, who was himself white. Carbo's friends pulled her back, and the group resumed praying.

The marriage protesters did include one young person - 21-year-old Veronica Stanton.

Stanton said she sympathized with the intentions of same-sex couples who want to be married. But as a Catholic, she said, she believes it is "another hit on the traditional family. It's not good for society."

The protesters never made it to Corbett's office. They hadn't made an appointment. A staffer came down to the street to accept their messages and literature.

Even if the protest doesn't change the governor's mind, the group's handout read, "Giving public witness to our Faith is never wasted."

jparks@philly.com610-313-8117 @JS_Parks

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