Supporters, opponents of gay marriage clash in Providence

Providence, R.I. – Supporters and opponents of same sex marriage held clashing rallies at the State House yesterday. Although they got to within a few feet of each other there was no violence.

The rally was initially called by the National Organization for Marriage, which is on a 19 state tour to drum up opposition to gay marriage. Queer Action Rhode Island heard about it, and decided to crash it.

So on the south steps of the State House the two groups -- each numbering about 150 --
shouted each other down.

National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown called on capitol police to remove protesters from around the podium. Once they did, Brown unleashed a torrent of criticism on them:

"This is a perfect example of those who demand tolerance are sometime the most intolerant!"

Susan Heroux of Queer Action Rhode Island disagreed.

"Coming into our state and telling us that some members of our state should not have equal rights is not something we just quietly stand by and let happen," she said.

Supporters of gay marriage in Rhode Island are in a massive signature gathering drive to persuade lawmakers there is support for same sex unions in the Ocean State.