12:48pm UK, Thursday November 06, 2008

Thousands of protesters took to the streets after California voted to ban gay marriage - just months after the state's Supreme Court made it legal.

Protest in LA

Protesters outside church in LA

Demonstrators marched through Hollywood, blocking traffic and forcing police to intervene after the controversial 'Proposition 8' was approved in a referendum.

The proposition asked for the Californian constitution to be changed to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The referendum came just months after the practice was legalised in the state and more than 18,000 same-sex couples tied the knot.

The protests mainly passed off peacefully, although a group of about 500 protesters gathered outside the local bureau of media giant CNN, where they banged on the doors and walls.

One protester was seen on TV cameras jumping on top of a police car before he was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed by police.

The ban, approved by 52.1% of voters, was hailed by conservative groups as the people's way of overturning the state Supreme Court's ruling in May that legalised gay marriage.

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and partner actress Portia De Rossi

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi

The result leaves thousands of gay couples in a legal limbo after they rushed to get married in California since June.

They include celebrities such as comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, who wed her long-time girlfriend Portia de Rossi, in August, and is understood to be taking legal action arguing that the proposal is unconstitutional.

The talk show host said she was "saddened beyond belief" by the ruling and said she "like millions of Americans, felt like we had taken a giant step toward equality" by electing Barack Obama as president, but with the passage of Proposition 8, "we took a giant step away."

Japanese-American actor George Takei, who played Mr Sulu in Star Trek, married his long-time partner Brad Altman in September.

They were the first couple to receive a marriage license in West Hollywood when California began issuing them to gay couples on June 17 and the actor said his marriage would remain valid.