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Same-sex marriage rallies stretch across nation

  • Story Highlights
  • Same-sex marriage supporters to gather in hundreds of cities across U.S.
  • They are protesting new bans in California, Arizona and Florida
  • Los Angeles organizers expect 40,000 to 100,000 people
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(CNN) -- More than a week after voters in California, Arizona and Florida passed ballot initiatives outlawing same-sex marriage, thousands of people across the country protested the bans in simultaneous rallies Saturday.

Supporters of same-sex marriage rally in San Francisco, California, on Saturday.

Supporters of same-sex marriage rally in San Francisco, California, on Saturday.

"What do we want?" chanted some on Washington's National Mall, some carrying rainbow-colored signs. "Equal rights," others answered.

"When do we want it?"

"Now!"

In New York, protesters in lower Manhattan stood behind barricades, holding signs.

"Love and Unity not hate," one read. "All we need is love," another said.

"Yes, we will," they chanted at one point.

In Los Angeles, thousands of demonstrators were met by counter-demonstrators.

"There is nothing civil about a man marrying another man," one protester yelled. "You lost. It is not a civil rights issue. It is an issue with morality." Video Watch both sides argue issue of same-sex marriage »

Meanwhile, those protesting the bans chanted, "Gay, straight, black, white; marriage is a civil right."

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"We will come out tomorrow in numbers this world has not yet seen," said Amy Balliett, the co-founder of JoinTheImpact.com, in a news release posted on the Web site Friday. See iReporters' experiences in cities nationwide

JoinTheImpact.com, which organized the rallies,was established three days after Election Day, when the three states passed the ballot initiatives.

"Rain or shine, our community will take to the streets to get the word out that equality is a human right and one that we will not stop working toward until it's afforded to all citizens," said Willow Witte, the other JoinTheImpact.com founder and organizer.

In California, the initiative, Proposition 8, overturned a May ruling by the California Supreme Court that struck down a 2000 ban on same-sex unions. It passed 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.

Protests have been since held in several California cities, including in San Francisco, Palm Springs and Long Beach. Watch demonstrators rally in San Diego

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"It's incredibly inspiring to see people from every walk of life, background, race, religion, creed, gathering here today to really send a powerful and purposeful and peaceful statement to the world," Jonathan Weber, who helped organize the event, said in Los Angeles.

"We have a very powerful message that's supported by a variety of people," he said. "The truth is, we are making a big difference in this issue right now. We're making tremendous progress in reaching out to hearts and minds of people across the country and gaining support from all walks of life."

CNN's Ted Rowlands and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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