- The Washington Times - Monday, November 10, 2008

LOS ANGELES | On the first Sunday after a gay-marriage ban passed in California, activists rallied in defiance, including hundreds of protesters outside an Orange County megachurch whose pastor brought Barack Obama and John McCain together last summer for a “faith forum.”

About 300 gay rights advocates fanned out along sidewalks leading to Saddleback Church in Lake Forest to voice their anger of the church’s support of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment approved by voters on Tuesday that overturns a state Supreme Court decision in May legalizing same-sex unions.

Ed Todeschini, a Human Rights Campaign volunteer, accused Saddleback in particular of helping propagate what he called misinformation about the Supreme Court ruling, including that gay marriage would have to be taught to kindergartners.

“They told such obvious lies. They used their lies to deceive the public,” Mr. Todeschini said of the church, which gained national attention in August when its pastor, Rick Warren, brought Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain together to discuss their religious faith.

The amendment was passed last week with 52 percent of the vote, and backlash at churches over their support swept across California on Sunday after days of protests.

In Oakland, a large protest at the city’s Mormon temple led the California Highway Patrol to close two highway ramps to ensure pedestrian safety.

“Our intent is not to disturb churchgoers,” protest organizer Tim DeBenedictis said.

“Our goal is to mend fences and build bridges so that all Californians can achieve marriage equality under the law.”

In Sacramento, a protest at the state Capitol was boisterous but peaceful as speakers led the crowd in noisy chants. Protesters waved rainbow flags, a symbol of the gay-rights movement, and “No on 8” signs as police watched from the side.

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