After overhearing that a same-sex couple in his neighbourhood couldn’t get married, nine-year-old Ethan McNamee decided to organise a gay rights rally.

The third-grader, from Denver, got the idea after hearing anti-gay insults in the playground and learning that his friend’s two mothers were not allowed to marry.

With a little help from his parents and teacher, Ethan and several friends worked to gain permits for the rally, find speakers and raise awareness of the event in the community.

On Saturday, more than 200 people turned up to show their support on the steps of Colorado’s state capitol.

Addressing the crowd, Ethan told supporters: “I believe I am doing the right thing. I hope this rally will make an impact and let our voices be heard.”

Despite critics suggesting he was too young to have views on same-sex marriage, Ethan’s teacher at Montclair Elementary Kyle Kimmal told reporters he had been careful not to impose his own views on his class.

See below for a video of Ethan at the rally.