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 Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Several hundred people gathered Saturday in front of the U.S. Capitol for the March for Marriage on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court decision imposing same-sex “marriage” across the country.

The crowd, which included bagpipers from The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and people of all ages, marched several blocks to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they were met by about a dozen protestors supporting the LGBT cause.

Religious liberty advocate Kassie Dulan addressed the crowd before the march, sharing the story of an encounter with a hostile same-sex “marriage” supporter who eventually apologized to Dulan for her lack of civility.

“Society will tell you I’m a bit of a dying breed,” as a young person who supports natural marriage, Dulan said, but “there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young people across America” who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

In the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack on a gay nightclub, Dulan urged people who disagree about same-sex “marriage” to “coexist with tolerance and grace.” 

Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services opened the gathering by praying for the victims of the Orlando shooting and their families. He noted in his prayer that participants were gathering in truth and love to witness to the sanctity of life and marriage.

“I’m at the March for Marriage representing the subcommittee on the defense of marriage of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and also because I believe in the importance of marriage between a man and a woman,” Broglio told LifeSiteNews.

Watch highlights from the March for Marriage:

Broglio said during the U.S. bishops’ annual Fortnight for Freedom religious liberty campaign that Catholics should invoke the intercession of St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher, and St. Thomas Becket, who “fought against the state for the freedom of religion.”

Broglio also weighed in on the ongoing transgender bathroom debate.

It “goes against common sense” to allow men to access women’s restrooms and vice versa, Broglio told LifeSiteNews. “And, of course, common sense is the least common thing around. It’s problematic for the privacy of women, it’s problematic for everyone, I think.”

“We also have to instruct … people on the value of marriage, the importance of family, the importance of marriage as an image of the Holy Trinity, which comes from the fathers of the Church,” said Broglio.

Another speaker, Father John Oliver of the Orthodox Church in America, likened today’s cultural situation to the state in which early Christians found themselves. 

The Orthodox priest encouraged those attending that changing the culture begins within individual families, and that the beauty and dignity of marriage can inspire conversions.

If America is in moral decline, if respect for human dignity runs cold, if our discourse is coarsening, if basic kindness is withering under rampant individualism, if sexual confusion is the new norm, if secularism increasingly defines our laws and institutions, if traditional marriage and family are falling from public favor, can such cultural decay be seen as a gift?” Oliver asked.  “Yes. And one key to such optimism may be to understand that if America is slipping further toward depravity, it is also slipping toward the very conditions in which the early Christian faith thrived.”

“How did a tiny, obscure religious sect on the fringe of the first century Roman empire evolve into a lasting global movement, providing the world with an unprecedented dignity for human life, a transcendent sanctity to the relationship of marriage, and the new vision for family?” he continued. “Was it by law? No. The legal code favored pagan arrangements. Was it by force? No. Christians had no access to the halls of power. Was it by persuasion? Yes. The value given to individual persons, marriages and families is part of what made this way of life so attractive to the pagan culture, inspiring its conversion. And now what was true in the ancient world is no less true in the modern world.”

“In addition to thinking from the outside in, from shaping government in Washington, D.C. to supporting the ennobling kinds of entertainment in Hollywood, we must also live from the inside out” by recommitting to spouses and reinvesting in children, Oliver said.

Mary Summerhays, a March for Marriage participant from Utah, told LifeSiteNews that her message to the other side was, “If their relationships are important, then they can certainly recognize how important a child’s relationships are.”

“Children can’t defend their own relationships, and adults can defend their own relationships,” she continued. “And so we as a society, we should take opportunity to protect children’s relationships. If love is a civil right, certainly children have a civil right to have a relationship with their mom and their dad. And it’s not fair for other adults to make a decision as to whether those children get to have that relationship or not, whether that’s a decision that’s made through divorce or through … the hookup culture causing children not to have fathers. Whatever setting creates that, it’s an injustice to children.”