On a hot, humid day in Washington, men, women and children from across the nation gathered near the Capitol to celebrate marriage as it has been historically and traditionally defined – as the union between one man and one woman. The event, March for Marriage, attracted people of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds.

Although the rally and march featured widely known speakers such as former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, The Daily Signal wandered the grounds to  put a face on those behind the debate and find out why marriage still matters to so many Americans. Here are some of the folks we encountered. DSC_0557 William Madigon, 46, Product Manager, Richmond, Va.: “This is all about love. This is all about strengthening our country by strengthening our families. We need to make a showing that this is important to our country and the world. And we’re not here to be anti-anything. We’re here to promote something that’s beautiful, that God has given to us to help us flourish as a people.”


Mandy Roach, 24, Educator, Providence, R.I.: “I believe every child just deserves someone who loves and supports them and I don’t believe the government should cater to a specific religion. Just going off the speakers here, there’s underlying motives I don’t agree with.”


Sol Frasca, 60, CEO of National Marriage Centers & Children’s Rights Council, Washington, D.C.: “It’s not an anti-gay movement. … We agree to disagree, and we should all have that right here in this country.”


Keith Hernandez, 25, Sales Associate, Yonkers, N.Y.: “This is a peaceful march. We’re here to support God and the truth of God, that every child needs a mom and dad.”


David Elizondo, 24, Civil Rights Advocate, Houston, Texas (left): “I think the people out here are misled. … We just want the same rights that they have. They’re out here celebrating, talking about ‘one man, one woman in marriage,’ but that’s already the law. … I don’t see how me getting married to my boyfriend would have any effect on anybody out here. It’s really nobody’s business but mine.”

John Becker, 29, LGBT Blogger & Editor at the Bilerico Project, Green Bay, Wisc. (right): “I’m here as a married LGBT person just to show that we support marriage between a man and a woman as well, but [also] we support marriage between all loving couples.”


Rita Alderete, Pastor, Breaking Chains Ministry, Paterson, N.J.: “We’re not looking for arguments … no hate … we’re here about love.”


Ken Carkhuff, 54, Program Analyst, Mechanicsville, Md.: “I’m here with my two daughters and wife of 32 years to show that I believe in marriage between a man and a woman. I have six kids, and my wife and I are still going strong. There are people here from all walks of life – all different ethnicities, economic classes, ages and backgrounds – so this is clearly something that attracts the heart of America.”

DSC_0580 Dimitry Ryumskin, 27, Truck Dispatcher, Harrisonburg, Va.: “I’m here to support God’s view of marriage. It’s awesome seeing so many Christians supporting traditional views on marriage. They need to stop buying into the propaganda of sugarcoating God’s will.”

jen2 Jennifer Marshall, 42, VP, Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation, Arlington, Va.: “You can’t get much more foundational than what we are marching for here today in the shadow of the Capitol. Marriage recognizes the basic biological fact that it takes a man and a woman to bring a child into the world, and the reality that a child needs a mom and a dad. All Americans have the right to live freely. But no one has the right to force us to act contrary to our beliefs.”

>>> Related: Why We March for Marriage