Opponent of a proposed gay marriage bill gathered Wednesday in Springfield.

The so-called “Defend Marriage Lobby Day” attracted an estimated 2,500 demonstrators to the Illinois capitol a day after lawmakers reconvened for the short fall session.

(Related: Gay marriage advocates turn focus to Illinois as fall session opens.)

The rally was organized by the Illinois Family Institute (IFI). Speakers at the event included state Senators Jim Oberweis and Kirk Dillard, both Republicans, IFI Director David Smith, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality President Peter LaBarbera and Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Baptist Church.

Marriage equality supporters are lobbying for the House to follow the Senate's lead and approve the measure in the next two weeks. But despite holding an overwhelming majority in the House, Democrats appear likely to table the issue until early next year, after the threat of primary challengers has passed.

“Hopefully, we will continue to be able to keep this from passage,” Smith told BuzzFeed. “I don't think [House members] have an appetite for it. Most lawmakers do not want to vote for this. Whether they are leaning yes, or leaning no, most do not want to even vote on this.”

“We want to challenge our elected officials that we do not want same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois,” Trotter told the crowd. “We don't want the moral fiber of America to go down wasted because we've gone against the will, plan and the word of God.”

Jim Finnegan, an IFI board member, said that he had nothing against gay people, whom he later described as “deviant, disease-filled.”

Linda Jernigan, an “ex-gay” activist, told the crowd that “All we need to do is send the homosexuals to Jesus.”

Marriage is “not a civil right,” she added

A popular sign at the gathering included stick figures of a woman and a man holding hands with two children along with the caption “God Doesn't Make Mistakes.”