|A man holds a giant rainbow flag with several other demonstrators|
in front of Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court has heard arguments in a historic case that could legalise same-sex marriage.
Outside the court, protesters for and against rallied with signs, music, and preaching - reflecting the deep and sometimes bitter national divide.
Inside, the proceedings were interrupted by someone shouting that the justices would "burn in hell" if they were to back gay marriage.
Based on their questions, the nine justices appeared divided on the issue.
The court is also determining whether to require states to recognise marriages performed in other states.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote could prove pivotal on the issue, said marriage has been understood as being between one man and one woman for "millennia-plus time".
Kennedy is often the swing vote between the 'right' and 'left' leaning judges.
He also questioned whether scholars and the public had had enough time to debate the issue.
|A man preaches into a microphone in front of Supreme Court|
For his part, Mr Bursch argued that child-rearing is the central rationale for marriage. Removing it would weaken people's commitments to stay together because of children they share.
|Pastor Larry Hickam - should learn how to spell before making big signs.|
He's feeding the argument by some that Christians are uneducated.
Traditional rainbow flags and the newer "equal sign" flags, emblamatic of the gay rights movements, fluttered in the spring breeze alongside signs denouncing homosexuality as sin.
For many there, including Pastor Larry Hickam from Amarillo, Texas, the issue is a matter of religious belief.
|John Hall and Rio Franciosa|
"The Supreme Court can want whatever they want, but the Supreme God has already spoken," he said.
A few feet away, Rio Franciosa and his boyfriend John Hall held hands as they watched Mr Hickam and others preach.
At one point, Mr Franciosa quipped: "If people in 500 years read Harry Potter, they will think we played quidditch." (Quidditch - hockey on broomsticks).
|A protester holds a sign that says|
"I was queer then I found Jesus"
The justices are considering whether the US Constitution's 14th Amendment require every state to grant a marriage licence to two people of the same sex.
And they are also pondering whether the same amendment requires every state to recognise a marriage between two people of the same sex that was performed lawfully in another state.
The first state to allow same-sex marriage was Massachusetts, which granted the right in 2004.
Today, same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and the federal district of Washington, DC.
I think, essentially, what the LGBT community is looking for is validation. Equality with the rest of society would 'validate', or 'legitimize' them. On the surface, and in the short term, they may get it. But it will never be real validation, it will expire when they do or sooner if God's Judgement falls on America for going the way of Sodom.
Science has proven that gays (at least the vast majority of them) are not born gay. God has spoken that it is an abomination. God does not change!
Photos by Paul Blake