Rally held ahead of SCOTUS' same-sex marriage hearings

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up the issue of same-sex marriage, groups in support of legislation extending rights to same-sex couples convened in Charleston to show solidarity.

Nearly 500 people gathered Monday night at the Customs House in downtown Charleston. The Alliance for Full Acceptance, along with about 27 other civic and church organizations gathered as part of a national campaign to raise awareness for same-sex marriage.

The groups' message was simple -- they believe any person should have the freedom to marry whomever they love, regardless of sexual orientation. However, convincing everyone is proving to be an uphill battle.

"I think it's a long time coming. You know we have right for everyone else. I don't see why we shouldn't have rights for people to marry who they please," said Nancy, one of the protesters.

Organizers said they have seen the opinion on the matter in South Carolina slowly but surely change.

Warren Redman-Grass, executive director for AFFA,{}said most people soften their opinion of legalizing gay marriage when{}it impacts someone they{}know.

"I think people are changing their minds because more and more of their family members are coming out to them. You know, people are not as afraid to tell their parents, their grandparents, their brothers and sisters that they are gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered," he said.

ABCNews4 did reach out to church organizations and political parties who traditionally speak against gay marriage, but they have not responded to requests for comment.