The California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8 and repeal same sex marriage has been met with defiance by protesters in the state.

More than four hundred opposers of the ruling, including local officials, members of the church and activists gathered outside the Riverside County Courthouse in Palm Springs to express their disappointment just hours after the decision had been made.

Jack Newby, director of Desert Pride Center, spoke to the assembled crowd, saying Tuesday evening was “a night we were hoping to celebrate, but a night we were told by our Supreme Court that we were second-class citizens”.

Same-sex marriage supporters were outraged at the Supreme Court’s, 6-1 ruling which they feel is discriminatory against a minority community.

Signs reading “Supreme Court sanctifies bigotry” and “Still married but not equal” were held by disappointed and tearful protestors.

Lori Richerson, who has spent 15 years with her domestic partner, told The Desert Sun yesterday: “We’re just like everybody else.”

Speaking of her decision not to marry immediately after the legalisation of gay marriage last May, Richerson concluded: “It wasn’t on solid ground for us,” adding that she and her partner feared the ruling would be overturned.

While the court ruled that the 18,000 marriages that took place between June 16th and November 4th 2008 will continue to be fully recognised by the state of California, couples such as Richerson and her partner may have missed their chance to marry for the foreseeable future.

Over 1,500 protesters in West Hollywood, California, took to the streets to voice their opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision.

Carrying banners with slogans such as “California Needs Love Not Hate” and drawing peace signs on the pavements, opposers of the ruling made their message clear. The protest was a peaceful one. Several more protests were held across the state, including one in Santa Ana that attracted up to 600 people.

Around 175 protestors were reportedly arrested in San Francisco for blocking a busy junction, but all were quickly released.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s move, Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, issued a statement saying: “The decision is a terrible blow to the thousands of Californians who woke up this morning hoping and praying their status as equal citizens of this state would be restored.

“The court’s decision has crushed those hopes and made it painfully clear that we must go back to the voters to restore equality.”