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SALT LAKE CITY — A coalition supporting same-sex marriage in Utah issued a statement Friday criticizing organizers of a traditional marriage rally for using photos of local gay and lesbian couples and their children during a presentation Thursday.
Marina Gomberg, interim executive director of Equality Utah, issued a statement titled "Our Families Are Not Your Propaganda" on behalf of the Utah Unites for Marriage coalition in response to a Celebration of Marriage rally at the Utah Capitol.
"It is a disgrace to use our families for a misguided and debunked view of what is best for children. It is one thing to disagree with the freedom to marry; it's quite another to go after loving parents and their children at a political rally. That is not an example of the family values in which Utahns take deep pride," Gomberg said.
During the rally supporting traditional marriage Thursday, organizer Mary Summerhays displayed pictures of local gay and lesbian couples and their children as she reiterated the group's stance that the best place for children to be raised is in a home with a mother and a father.
Summerhays responded Saturday, defending the use of the photos because they had already appeared in the media.
"These photos are from a public pro-gay marriage press conference at the Capitol and were featured repeatedly in the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune beginning as early as Jan. 10 … and illustrate that a child will lose at least one biological relationship when it comes into conflict with a same-sex marriage," Summerhays said.
"Any privacy concerns should be addressed to the many newspapers that featured their stories so prominently and inserted their names repeatedly without my knowledge," she said.
The Celebration of Marriage rally was held a week before the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to hear Utah's appeal on behalf of its amendment banning same-sex unions in the state.
Amendment 3, Utah's voter-approved definition of marriage between a man and a woman, was overturned by a federal district court judge in December 2013, a ruling that was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in June. Similar appeals by Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin may also be considered by the nation's high court.