Supporters sang songs of solidarity, waved signs, and shouted chants over an issue everyone at the event calls a civil right.
"Another minority group has been denied equal rights from the majority," said Presbyterian minister Brett Webb-Mitchell.
"I'm a gay man who came out at the age of 74," said Raleigh resident Harry Rosenberg.
Older, younger, gay and straight, more than 450 people gathered on the Wake County Courthouse steps for a candlelight vigil to in their words "light the way to justice."
"We believe that love is love," said Madeline Goss, of Equality N.C.
Their message comes just as the nation's highest court takes up oral arguments in the Defense of Marriage Act and a lawsuit over California's gay marriage ban.
Just last May, a majority of North Carolina voters passed a similar ban that specifically defined marriage as between a man and woman.
"We should be afforded equal rights like every other person in the United States," said Jan Hibbetts, a gay marriage advocate.
Jan and Kristen Hibbetts traveled from Raleigh to Vermont to get married four years ago. They hope the court's decision will allow them to enjoy the same benefits as traditional couples.
"I'd like to see some fairness in some of the laws like the tax laws," said Kristen Hibbetts, a gay marriage advocate.
"Oh my God, there are what 1,400 state and federal rights that we don't get just because we can't get married," said Goss.
Equality N.C. sponsored the vigil. They say the next step in their fight involves a lobby day scheduled for April 16. That's when gay marriage advocates will each lobby their representative in the General Assembly.