With less than 48 hours until Election Day, hundreds of “No on 8” supporters gathered in West Hollywood Park on late Sunday afternoon, showing their resolve to defeat Proposition 8, the ballot measure that seeks to eliminate the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry in California. The peaceful demonstration was the largest of its kind in West Hollywood since May 15, 2008, when gays and lesbians celebrated the California State Supreme Court ruling that first legalized same sex marriage.

Drew Pokorny, Oliver Drakeford, and Paul Yuan (left to right) join other “No on 8” supporters at the intersection of Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards in West Hollywood.

On Sunday, at 4 p.m., the “No on 8” campaign organized a “visibility” rally to energize its base and get out the vote. The rally was also a reaction to a day-long event held on Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, where thousands of “Yes on 8” supporters prayed and listened to evangelical Christian leaders Lou Engle and Dr. James Dobson, both of whom are ardent opponents of same sex marriage.

LA Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri Jean, left, speaks at West Hollywood Park on Sunday afternoon.

At the “No on 8” rally, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri Jean and West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran spoke to the crowd. “Civil rights has never been won out of fear,” Duran told an audience of gays and lesbians and their straight friends, “but out of courage.”

The crowd at the “No on 8” rally.

Some people brought home-made signs to West Hollywood Park.

The rally attracted a wide age group of supporters, from men and women in their twenties to their sixties. Lorri Jean told them, “We have to go out and do more, and I know you are all tired. But the next 36 hours are important.” With that, the crowd moved out of the park and marched to three major intersections in West Hollywood: Roberston and Santa Monica boulevards, San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards, and La Cienega and Santa Monica boulevards.

“No on 8” supporters at the intersection of Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards.

At one point, dozens of people left several nearby gay bars after hearing loud whistles and chants of “Gay or straight! No on 8!” They grabbed “No on 8” signs and joined the demonstrations.

“No on 8” supporters at the intersection of San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards, the traditional gathering place for the Los Angeles gay rights movement over the decades.

Motorists consistently honked their horns in support as they drove by the “No on 8” crowds, which packed each intersection. There was no police presence and no incidents at the rally or the post-rally demonstrations, which ended around 7:30 p.m.

More sign-waving at the intersection of Robertson and Santa Monica boulevards.

Recent polls have Proposition 8 losing, but “No on 8” campaign leadership is still concerned about the outcome, with Lorri Jean asking supporters to “vote early and vote no on Proposition 8.” The earliest exiting polling on the ballot measure will come out around 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening, soon after the polls close.

“No on 8” supporters ask motorists for their support at the intersection of San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly