Mid-South gay rights supporters rally at city hall

Gay rights supporters waving rainbow colors marched, chanted and danced in cities coast to coast Saturday to protest the vote that banned gay marriage in California and to urge supporters not to quit the fight for the right to wed.

Crowds gathered near public buildings in cities large and small, including Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Fargo, to vent their frustrations, celebrate gay relationships and renew calls for change.

"We are the American family, we live next door to you, we teach your children, we take care of your elderly," said Heather Baker, a special education teacher from Boston who addressed the crowd at Boston's City Hall Plaza. "We need equal rights across the country."

In Memphis, people gathered in front of city hall to protest both the vote on proposition 8 in California and an Arkansas measure banning gay couples from adopting children.
The group "Join the Impact" organized these demonstrations nationwide.

"We're out here in support of love. That's one thing we want to make clear today," said Amy Livingston, a participant in the Memphis rally. "We know that there are gay, lesbian, and bisexual people found among every race, and we're out here with our allies today to say 'No, we won't tolerate discrimination and we want equal rights for all.'"

Organizers say Saturday's rallies - which included about 1 million people in 300 U.S. cities - are an important reminder of equal rights.

Connecticut, which began same-sex weddings this past week, and Massachusetts are the only two states that allow gay marriage. The other 48 states do not, and 30 of them have taken the extra step of approving constitutional amendments. A few states allow civil unions or domestic partnerships that grant some rights of marriage.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)