Anne-Marije Rook
Dozens of members, allies, and friends of the Seattle LGBTQ community came out to rally outside the Paramount Theater on Thursday afternoon and thank President Obama for supporting gay marriage. CLICK ON IMAGE TO START SLIDESHOW.

SLIDESHOW: Seattle area LGBTQ community thanks President Obama for supporting same-sex marriage


Dozens of members, allies, and friends of the Seattle LGBTQ community came out to rally outside the Paramount Theater on Thursday afternoon where President Obama held a fundraiser.

The President's visit was his first public appearance since Wednesday's televised interview with ABC in which President Obama stated that he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

As people lined the streets in front of the theater the atmosphere was joyful and the collective message was that of gratitude.

Signs read "Thank You Mr. President", "Standing on the side of LOVE", and "Thanks for evolving on same sex marriage."

"We are here to say 'Thank You'. It's so exciting that Seattle is the first major city Obama visits since the announcement," said Holly Teige of Monroe, Wash., who together with a group of children represented the Sky Valley GLBTQ Alliance.
"We dedicated today as a gay holiday and brought the kids out here to see political activism in action. They are the next generation of constituents," said Teige.

The rally was in part organized by gay rights activist Charlene Strong of The Seattle Lesbian, who had encouraged people to come out and say Thank You via The Seattle Lesbian's website and social media.

"I think it's appropriate to say 'Thank You'," Strong said. "Obama's announcement is really important first step, especially for us here in Washington with gay-marriage opponents pushing for a referendum."

Yet Strong is hopeful.

"Once [the is on the ballot I think Washington voters will do the right thing," she said.

The crowd of supporters waited patiently, hoping to catch a glimpse of the President as he exited his motorcade. President Obama did not work the crowd but people were still pleased to just have been there.

"There are certain things that happen and you remember where you were when it happened. [The President's announcement in support of gay is one for me," said Sage Alixander, who came out to rally with her partner of 22 years. "I had to come out today and express my gratitude."

For most people it was a joyous occasion, for other emotional.

"I was kind of overwhelmed when I heard the announcement," said Randy, who held a sign that read "Obama: Thoughtful Leader, Courageous Patriot".

"I...I didn't believe it would happen in my lifetime," Randy continued before taking a pause to control his emotions. "He's going to take a lot of heat for it but he's a courageous man and nothing but good will come from it."

"His opponent, Romney, likes to throw out the word 'Freedom' a lot but real freedom is respecting people's liberties and having the freedom to marry the man I love," added Randy, who has been with his partner for 15 years. His partner couldn't make it out to the rally because "he's a hardworking federal government employee."

The fundraiser at the Paramount Theatre was a sold-out event and Seattle musician Dave Matthews performed. The president could only stay for a few hours before jetting to California for a celebrity-studded event.

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