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Gay marriage supporters take to California streets

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  • Protests continue over recent passage of same-sex marriage ban in California
  • Measure overturns May ruling by California Supreme Court allowing gay marriages
  • Legal status of same-sex weddings that occurred before ban remains unclear
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Protests continued Friday in several California cities, including San Francisco, Palm Springs and Long Beach, over the passage of Proposition 8, which outlaws same-sex marriage.

The passage of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages, has led to a number of protests.

The passage of California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages, has led to a number of protests.

The ballot initiative, which passed 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent Tuesday, overturns a May ruling by the California Supreme Court that struck down a 2000 ban on same-sex unions.

In San Francisco, an estimated 2,000 protesters marched down Market Street toward Dolores Park. The march stretched out for at least three city blocks, and the protesters completely blocked Market Street's westbound lanes and the eastbound lanes in places.

"I believe that politics and religion should be completely separate," protester Eric Rogers told CNN affiliate KGO-TV. "This has been, actually, one of those lines that has been blurred by that."

"It really feels personal. It feels like why would someone not want us to live in love and respect," said protester Jayne Dean-McGilpin.

A demonstration in Long Beach stretched out for five or six blocks. "Hate is not hot," read a banner at the front of the marchers.

About 2,000 demonstrators marched in a peaceful protest in Long Beach, and a few hundred remained in the streets around 10 p.m. (1 a.m. ET), said Sgt. David Marander of the Long Beach Police Department.

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Marander said Long Beach officers arrested three people after they tried to persuade others to leave the protest route that was described in a permit that organizers obtained for the march.

At one point, demonstrators stopped at a street corner for a few moments to allow traffic to cross.

Later, demonstrators congregated for about 20 minutes at the intersection of Broadway and Alameda Street, blocking traffic in all directions. The demonstrators then moved on before stopping at the intersection of Long Beach Boulevard and First Street, where many of them sat down in the street.

After a few minutes, the demonstrators were on the move again. Police kept a watchful eye on the protesters but did not intervene.

In Palm Springs, a crowd of several hundred gathered in front of the city hall, chanting "Civil rights" and "Tax the Church." One sign read: "We will not give up." Your thoughts on gay marriage?

Several protesters surrounded an elderly looking woman, an apparent Proposition 8 supporter, and shouted at her. No arrests were reported at any of the demonstrations.

In Salt Lake City, Utah, about 2,000 demonstrators gathered at Temple Square to protest against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormon church strongly supported Proposition 8, which amends California's constitution to define marriage as legal only between one man and one woman.

Proposition 8 opponents say the Salt Lake City-based church donated a majority of the money raised in support of the measure.

The LDS Church believes it should not be singled out when other groups also supported the proposition.

"It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election," the church said in a statement Friday.

On Thursday, Roman Catholic and Mormon leaders said their efforts did not target any specific group.

The coalition of religious communities and citizens who supported Proposition 8 wanted to preserve "the bedrock institution of marriage" between a man and a woman, said Cardinal Roger Mahoney, the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles.

"Proposition 8 is not against any group in our society," Mahoney said in a written statement.

About 2,000 protesters picketed Thursday afternoon outside the Los Angeles temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Several groups have petitioned the California Supreme Court to prevent the constitutional revision from taking effect.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a lawsuit contending the ballot initiative was "improperly used."

According to the three groups, "such radical changes" as outlawing gay marriage cannot be made by ballot initiative, but must, "at a minimum, go through the state legislature first." The groups also argue the measure takes away a "fundamental right" from lesbian and gay Californians.

The three organizations filed the legal challenges on behalf of Equality California and six same-sex couples who did not marry before Tuesday's election, but would like to be able to wed now.

The three groups contend that California must honor the marriages of the 18,000 lesbian and gay couples who have already married.

Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst, said Thursday it is unclear whether same-sex weddings that took place before Tuesday are still valid. Referring to those couples, she said, "I think they really are in a legal limbo, a legal black hole."

Voters in Arizona and Florida also banned same-sex marriages in ballot initiatives Tuesday.

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