WASHINGTON -- Twelve hours before the Supreme Court takes up one of the biggest civil rights cases in a generation, Dave Odenbach was handing out lollipops.
"You want a Tootsie Pop?" the Minnesota native asked those who had camped out for days to witness oral arguments in the case that will decide the fate of California's gay marriage ban. Odenbach, now a D.C. resident, said he couldn't just sit around as people camped out to hear Hollingsworth v. Perry at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. So he picked up some Tootsie Pops from a CVS in Logan Circle and headed to the Supreme Court building.
"I'm super envious of the people coming in and doing this, and I just thought, I can't not come down and say hi to the people and cheer them on," Odenbach told The Huffington Post. "So I just thought I'm coming on down, and I'm bringing Tootsie Pops as a little gift."
Odenbach wasn't the first who came bearing treats. A few minutes earlier, the brother-sister duo of Lauren and Mark Hines, originally from Cincinnati, handed out around 40 miniature pumpkin pie cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to those waiting in folding chairs, camped beneath tarps.
The queue had grown to more than 70 early Tuesday, from just over a dozen on Friday to witness gay marriage history firsthand.
Many, especially those in the separate line for members of the Supreme Court bar, were paid to be there. Others, like Joey Williamson and his partner Gary Brown, have a personal investment and were in line for themselves. Williamson and Brown weren't trying to get into the courtroom on Tuesday. Rather, they planned to be first in line for oral arguments Wednesday on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. They watched arguments in the DOMA case when it was before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The interest is a bit more intense this time around.
"We showed up at like 8 in the morning, thinking we better get there early since it is a really high-profile case, and we're the only ones in the courtroom," Williamson said. The couple hasn't yet gotten married, Williamson said, "in no small part" because the federal government wouldn't recognize such a union.
"We could get married in New York, but it's like kind-of marriage," Williamson said. "It's very nice that the state of New York does these things, but if the federal government isn't going to give recognition…"
Skyler Mays, number 60 in the line, took a bus in from Arkansas to try to witness the Prop. 8 arguments for himself. After hugging a reporter who identified himself as from The Huffington Post, Mays said he'll be watching Chief Justice John Roberts very closely.
"Justice Roberts has a lesbian cousin that's going to be here tomorrow," Mays said as Jay-Z's "Young Forever" blared from speakers set up on a nearby seat. "So I want to see his reaction to certain arguments."