Local groups take sides as gay marriage cases begin in Supreme Court

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - People across the country are talking same-sex marriage: Is outlawing it unconstitutional?

That's what the US Supreme Court is discussing in hearings starting Tuesday.

Many are keeping a close eye on Washington, especially the two Tennessee groups, the Voice of Hope and the Tennessee Equality Project. Both are planning rallies tomorrow.

The Voice of Hope is based in Fentress County, and supports the traditional view of marriage, only between a man and a woman. Tuesday's rally in Fentress County will be inside the courthouse in Jamestown, starting at 7:00 p.m. local time, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The Tennessee Equality Project is in favor of same-sex marriage, and will be gathering on Tuesday in downtown Knoxville at Krutch Park. Their rally starts at 6:30 p.m., and will be lighting candles and holding signs in support of their side.

Ben Byers with the TEP says the rally is a time to demonstrate that, and support the Supreme Court's decision to look over Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

"It's still a long fight. I still don't think even this will be the end of it. But it certainly has the potential to make some big strides," said Byers.

Pastor Roger Burks with the Voice of Hope argues that the church has to stand up and pray for traditional marriage.

"We cannot be silent any longer because we have seen these laws that we find in the word of God. When they are violated, it is detrimental even to the United States of America," said Burks.

"According to the Word of God, that marriage is one man and one woman which would constitute that, and anything else would be in violation of God's word. Which I think would bring judgment to our country."

But Byers just wants the same rights as every other heterosexual American.

"I'm not asking anyone who does not want to get married to a same-sex partner to do it. I just want to be able to do it if I want to. I'm not infringing on anyone else's ability, I just want to be able to do it. I want to be able to marry my partner," said Byers.

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