Hundreds rally for equality in Palm Springs

POSTED: 11:26 PM PDT Mar 26, 2013 

Bob Pergrim and Gene Burden, of Palm Springs, have a love story of their very own. They've been partners since 1963. Like in any relationship, there come good times and struggles. But for this couple they're united by love, divided by laws.

"We've been together 50 years and we would like to be married," said Pergrim.
They're not fighting for a gay or same-sex marriage, but marriage equality as a whole.

With flags in hand, more than 450 Valley supporters gathered for a "Rally for Equality" on Tuesday in front of the Palm Springs county building on Tahquitz Canyon. The rally followed the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on California's gay marriage ban, Prop 8.  

"I'm against same-sex marriage. I don't think the Supreme Court should be looking at it. California voters already decided on the issue," said Larry Harvey of Palm Desert.

He's one of many opposed to the issue for personal reasons and religious.

"Marriage is a sacrament. It's between a man and a woman for the purpose of creating a family," said Harvey.

Local leaders like democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz and families gay and straight standing up for the rights of everyone.

"We as a community do not accept second-class citizenship. We should not accept discrimination against people who want to be in a lifelong loving relationship with the one they love," said Ruiz.

Pergrim was once married to a woman and had two children. He thought a heterosexual marriage would be the "cure" to his sexuality.

He now hopes to one day tie the knot with his partner Burden in Palm Springs, what the supporters call the mecca of diversity.

"We would like to see it federally recognized, not just state by state," said Pergrim.

Judges will hear arguments on Wednesday on the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the 1996 law signed by then President Bill Clinton that states marriage should be between a man and a woman for federal purposes.

Supporters say they might not see the results they want today or tomorrow, but they will continue fighting until they do.