Gay marriage supporters march through Seattle

Gay marriage supporters march through Seattle »Play Video
Participants gather at Volunteer Park in support of marriage equality and against California's Proposition 8 in Seattle on Saturday.
SEATTLE - Thousands of people marched peacefully through downtown Seattle Saturday afternoon as part of a national protest to protest the California vote that banned gay marriage.

Seattle police accompanied the marchers and lined downtown streets to control the crowd. Police estimated the crowd number about 3,000. Other estimates ranged above 5,000 protesters and counter-protesters.

"The Church of Latter Day Snakes," one sign said, pointedly aimed at the Mormon church, which supported Proposition 8 in California. "You can't stop love," another sign said.

One participant, Mariana Shirk, marched with her son in support of her gay brother and his partner.

"They've been together longer than my husband and I, and we feel that they should be allowed to be married," Shirk said.

Another marcher, Fabrice Morino, flew in from california to turn his statewide issue into a national one.

"People in California right now are protesting right now, and I'm sure they're very happy to know that even people in Washington state can help us in this fight," he said.

There's no legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state. But the voices in support of it are growing louder.

"It's about time we got our equal rights. If we don't demand them, we'll never get them," said marcher John Nettleton.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels spoke to the marchers, who gathered at Volunteer Park and then proceeded to Westlake Center. He called Proposition 8 "a hateful measure which should never have been on the ballot."

Nickels told the crowd he has declared Nov. 15 as "Marriage Equality Day in Seattle."

The march was part of a national protest against the vote that banned gay marriage in California and to urge supporters not to quit the fight for the right to wed.

Seattle blogger Amy Balliett, who started the planning for the protests when she set up a Web page three days after the California vote, said persuasion is impossible without civility.

"If we can move anybody past anger and have a respectful conversation, then you can plant the seed of change," she said.

Balliett said supporters in 300 cities in the U.S. and other countries were holding marches, and she estimated 1 million people would participate, based on responses at the Web sites her group set up.

"We need to show the world when one thing happens to one of us, it happens to all of us," she said.

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.