Thousands Protest Court's Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Drew Barrymore at a West Hollywood protest.

    As many as 5,000 protesters gathered at a rally in West Hollywood on Tuesday night, expressing their opposition to the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold the state's same-sex marriage ban.

    Police said the rally was peaceful, with only one arrest reported. Los Angeles City Police said there were as many as 5,000 protesters marching from West Hollywood to Hollywood.

    Some of the protesters carried U.S. flags and signs that read, "California Needs Love Not Hate," and "Gays on Strike."

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    Physician Mark Katz, who attended the rally with his husband, said he feels "enraged, ashamed of living in a state that calls itself progressive."

    Several other same-sex marriage rallies were held Tuesday, including one in Santa Ana that drew an estimated 600 people. Another rally with 1,200 protesters was held in Long Beach on Tuesday night. No arrests were reported.

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    About 200 same-sex marriage supporters and a handful of opponents massed between the old Orange County Courthouse and a Presbyterian church for a rally organized by same-sex marriage supporters. The crowd gathered on Sycamore Street included people carrying bullhorns, rainbow flags, handmade placards and professionally printed ones.

    "I do support the freedom to marry," said one sign printed by the nonprofit Let California Ring.

    A contingent from area Universalist Unitarian churches also came out in support of same-sex marriages, holding signs that said: "The Unitarian Church stands on the side of love."

    The California Supreme Court ruling made public Tuesday upheld Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage by amending the state constitution.

    However, the justices also ruled that about 18,000 same-sex couples who married between June and the November 2008 election -- a period when the high court had ruled in favor of same-sex marriages -- would remain legally betrothed.

    Across the street from the main rally, next to a Presbyterian church, Rod Warner stood silent, holding a large banner urging people to repent.

    "I'm trying to warn these people," Warner said, adding that he doesn't go church but studies the Bible.

    Warner's reaction to the ruling was that "all (the court) is doing is giving them a bunch of junk that they can raise issue with."

    Former Sen. Joe Dunn, D-Santa Ana, called the ruling "an unfortunate decision" and said the same-sex issue was a "struggle for hearts and minds."

    "The struggle for civil rights is always a long, grueling process," he said at the rally, adding that "we respect our democracy more than our opponents."

    Across the street, the Rev. C.P. Hanson was preaching with Bible in hand.

    "As for the people of California," he said, "they say they agree with me."

    Next to him was Ruben Israel, protesting same-sex marriages. Asked if he felt outnumbered by the crowd, he said, "We're actually the majority. Fortunately, the taxpayers and voters of this state work for a living and couldn't be here; so I'm here to represent them."

    The Orange County Equality Coalition, which was formed after Proposition 8 was approved in November, organized the rally.