BEND, Ore. -

About 50 Central Oregonians took to the streets of downtown Bend Saturday, demanding gay marriage equality.

The group marched along Wall Street, holding up signs and chanting.

It was one of many protests held across the U.S. organized by the United for Marriage: Light the Way to Justice.

The protests come just days before the U.S. Supreme Court will hear its first cases regarding gay marriage.

The nation's Defense of Marriage Act and California's ban on gay marriage are being challenged and defended in the court.

Protesters NewsChannel 21 spoke with say if the court declares the gay marriage bans unconstitutional, it could lead to legal same-sex marriage nationwide.

"I think the time has come, and look at all the huge corporations that have come gotten on board, it just makes sense -- it does not matter who you love," said protester Cliff Cook.

"The society doesn't validate the love that we have for each other," said a woman at the protest with her partner.  "(It) doesn't validate our relationship, and it's invalid when we can't have the same rights as heterosexuals."

The Supreme Court will be hearing cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, but no rulings are expected before June.