More than 250 gay and lesbian couples participated in what organizers called the “largest illegal mass wedding ever held,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

Eight ministers and priests officiated over the hundreds of couples as friends and relatives looked on.

Earlier in the day, gay marriage supporters gathered at Willard Park, just blocks from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and marched to Cleveland City Hall to hear an hour's worth of speeches.

City officials welcomed the peaceful protest by flying a rainbow pride flag under the American flag.

One couple, together 35 years and legally married in Massachusetts, was among the hundreds who exchanged vows inside the Galleria off East 9th Street.

“There are over a thousand benefits available to married couples by the federal government that are denied to same sex couples,” Dr. Rick Starn, 66, said.

Ohio voters in 2004 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union. Supporters are expected on Monday to resubmit a petition that seeks to repeal the ban after a first attempt was rejected.

“With recent victories in New York, Washington and Maryland, the momentum for marriage equality has never been more powerful,” Ed Mullen, executive director of Equality Ohio, told NBC affiliate WKYC. “Same-sex coupes in Ohio want their love and commitment to be recognized by the state so that they will have the same rights and responsibilities as other couples and families.”