The Supreme Court will hear two arguments this week pertaining to the definition of marriage. For many the arguments will center on equality or traditional beliefs. But what if the core of the argument was for children, and by children?
"Marriage is not a right, it is a call from God," one young girl wearing a pink coat and purple fuzzy hat, writes on a sign during the Nation for Marriage rally held on Tuesday. The organization's message reads: "Every Child Deserves a Mom & Dad."
The opposing argument by gay advocacy groups is that homosexuals can't be considered equal unless marriage is redefined to include them.
A number of adults have come forward with reasons as to why they support one side over another. But what if the children at the heart of the argument were asked about why they do or do not support same-sex marriage? One 11-year-old girl did speak earlier this month.
"Even though I'm only 11 years old, I know that everyone deserves to have a mom and a dad," Grace Evans said during the Minnesota House Committee on Civil Law.
"Since every child needs a mom and a dad to be born, I don't think we can change that children need a mom and a dad," she argued. "I believe God made it that way. I know some disagree, but I want to ask you this question: Which parent do I not need, my mom or my dad?"
Grace is not alone. There were more than just adults who met Tuesday during the National Marriage rally. There were children too, carrying their own hand made signs- some with parents, some slightly older who came of their own volition.
A second young girl, when asked by a BuzzFeed editor to explain why she supported a traditional view on marriage, suggested that perhaps the adults were being selfish.
"Marriage is a child centered union," she wrote, "not an adult-centered one."
Studies have been conducted on both sides in support for and against gay marriage. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a new policy that defended parents who are of the same sex.
"If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it's in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so," Dr. Ellen Perrin, a Tufts Medical Center pediatrician and co-author of the 2013 policy statement, told the AP.
A second study, conducted by New Family Structures in 2012, concluded that children with only one biological parent are "worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents." Overseen by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, the study weighed factors that include: health, mortality, suicide risks, drug and alcohol abuse, criminality and incarceration, and intergenerational poverty.
"I do fiercely believe that our law must protect gay citizens," a girl in a red coat wrote on her sign in support of traditional marriage. But "fatherhood and motherhood are unique and both necessary."
"I think everyone deserves a mom and dad," wrote another girl.