By 10 a.m. this morning, when the Supreme Court was slated to release its decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 cases, the front patio of the building was overflowing — literally, with people spread down the sidewalk, into the street, and over onto the front lawn of the Capitol building. It was a slow-moving, sweaty, sticky crowd. With temperatures in the 90s and the kind of humidity that seeps into your hair, the crowd probably wasn’t as energetic as it could have been. And though a whole swath of progressive movements showed up in support of same-sex marriage — including NOW and PETA — I didn’t see many representatives of traditional-marriage groups.
Gary Bauer, a long-time social-conservative leader, spoke with me a few hours after the decision about that absence.
“I understand the reasons why,” said Bauer, “which is that people of tradition, and who embrace conservatism, tend to be at their jobs or with their families, and are not particularly attracted to street theatre. But the Left is using the tactic more and more, and it has to be responded to.”
That didn’t happen today. Instead, same-sex-marriage supporters chanted, “What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now,” jostled stickily against each other to view the plaintiffs as they left the court, and complained about the heat.