By Art Holliday
WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. (KSDK) - "On this evening we bring our fervent prayers that wisdom might prevail in the chambers of the Supreme Court."
Using a megaphone, Rev. Marilyn Stavenger spoke to about 60 people who gathered in Webster Groves for a vigil at First Congregational United Church of Christ.
Members of local churches sponsored a prayer vigil on the eve of the Supreme Court Hearings on gay rights.
On March 26 and 27 the Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments surrounding two cases dealing with marriage equality. One case could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
The second case challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow same-sex marriage.
"The more people get to know one another, the easier it is to say it's not right to discriminate against someone just based on their sexual orientation," said Rev. Al Schon, one of the organizers.
The gathering was an example of how more Americans than ever are supporting gay marriage. A decade ago, just a third of Americans approved of gay marriage. In 2013, various polls indicate that number has grown, anywhere from 49 percent to 58 percent. Obviously not everyone agrees with same sex marriage. A dissenting viewpoint comes from the Center for Marriage and Family.
"Marriage laws are designed to attach mothers and fathers to each other and to the children that they may create and raise in the best environment," said Austin Nimocks.
Dara Strickland is a St. Louis attorney whose clients include gay and lesbian couples.
"There's a high likelihood this will be a tipping point legally," Strickland said. The Chesterfield attorney says the Supreme Court cases are about more than who gets to use the term 'marriage'.
Strickland says the Supreme Court cases are about more than who gets to use the term marriage.
"Property, taxes, bankruptcy, inheritance. Hundreds of rights," he said.
Ed Reggi is a gay rights activist who has organized a dozen bus trips from St. Louis to Iowa for gay and lesbian couples to get married. Reggi says he has seen a dramatic shift in attitudes about gay rights.
"Even people who have changed their viewpoints on this issue, I would say on the side of justice, on the side of equality, so that's what I think makes this a very interesting time," said Reggi.