Hours after the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, the statewide ban on same-sex marriage, a dozen local gay youth and their advocates gathered on one of Mountain View's busiest street corners, protesting, they said, for "the right to dream of someday getting married."
Wearing rainbow flags around their shoulders and carrying signs reading "All you need is love," Give me back my rights" and "You can't outlaw my love," the protestors waved their signs and cheered, drawing honks from passing cars at the intersection of Castro Street and El Camino Real on Monday night.
Larger protests were held in Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Jose, but the local advocates said they wanted to speak out in their own hometown and community.
Outlet, a Mountain View advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, organized the protest for teenagers who may not be able to make it to the bigger gatherings.
"The California Supreme Court just told every child with an LGBT parent that their family is not as important as their heterosexual friends and families," Outlet program director Eileen Ross said. "The Supreme Court justices just told every California LGBT teenager that they are not worthy of the same dreams as their heterosexual peers."
California voters passed Prop 8 in November, banning same-sex marriage, and on Monday the state's Supreme Court upheld the ban in a 6-1 ruling. But the justices also ruled that 18,000 marriages held in California last summer were still valid.
Anna Olivia Chen, a student at Graham Middle School, said there wasn't much reaction on campus following the ruling. She came to the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), where Outlet is located, to make signs after school with other LGBT youth.
"It's important for people to hear we are not going to let them take our rights away from us with us not doing anything about it," she said. "It doesn't just affect adults."
After making the signs, the youth, Outlet employees and one parent walked to Castro and El Camino, where they started to protest. Mountain View High School junior Danny Kirsch said the ruling "makes us who identify as queer as second-class citizens."
"It feels weird no one is getting as outraged," he added. "They really should. What's next?"
He said he was still surprised that California did not have the same rights as other states.
"I really can't believe we are behind Iowa," Kirsch said.
The small group of protestors was met with dozens of honks and cheers from drivers as they passed by. Two men even parked their car to join the protest, explaining that they had been heading toward the Palo Alto demonstration but decided to join the Mountain View gathering instead. Youth from as far as Redwood City joined the protest, and Outlet employees said the organization was the only one of its kind on the Peninsula.
A couple of drivers gave the protestors "thumbs down" as they passed, and one group of teenage boys yelled, "Gays should burn in hell."
As the night went on, several more locals joined, and the protestors said they weren't expecting a large turnout.
Dozens of people attended an Outlet candlelight vigil after California voters rejected Prop 8 in November. Even though Monday's turnout was lower, protestors said it was still important to continue fighting for gays' rights. Some wondered what the seemingly conflicting rulings meant for gay marriage in California.
"You shouldn't have had to (get married) in that tiny window between June and Nov. 4," said Kathleen Brans-Field, a Santa Clara resident who was married over the summer.