In the words of Barney Frank it was an enormous “emotional release” Sunday as thousands of gay rights activist took to the streets of Washington D.C. to press lawmakers to act on gay rights legislation.

The marchers were squarely aiming for President Barack Obama, who renewed his promise to end the military's ban on open gay service in a speech to 3,000 gay activists at Saturday's Human Rights Campaign (HRC) fundraiser in Washington.

But the crowd on Sunday was clearly unimpressed with the president's latest offering that spelled out nothing new and offered few specifics.

“I'm sorry, but I didn't like your speech,” Billie Myers, a musician, told a cheering crowd, The New York Times reported.

“I'm absolutely here to encourage President Obama to live up to his promises from the campaign for my family's equality,” Julie Marosky-Thacker, a protester from North Carolina, told the AP.

Marchers were younger – reported to be in their 20s and 30s – than the politically connected $500-a-plate gay activist, who, collectively, gave Obama a standing ovation Saturday. They're also less patient, more vocal and unwilling to give the president the benefit of the doubt.

“I think this march represents the passing of the torch,” Corey Johnson, political commentator for the gay blog, told the paper. “The points of power are no longer in the halls of Washington or larger metropolitan areas. It's decentralized now. You have young activists and gay people from all walks of life converging on Washington not because a national organization told them to, but because they feel the time is now.”

There were not official estimates of the size of the crowd. Unofficial estimates ranged from 20,000 all the way up to 100,000.

Several celebrity gay rights activists spoke at the demonstration.

“We are all Americans. We are all equal Americans, gay, straight or whatever,” Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, told the crowd. Judy Shepard has lobbied Congress for the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill since her son was murdered in 1988 for being gay.

“We are gathered here today from all over the U.S., and back home many of us are deeply embroiled in the particular local battles that we are fighting, but today is a national rally and when we walk away from here tonight, we need to walk away with a common national resolve,” openly lesbian actress Cynthia Nixon told the crowd.

Also at the march was Lt. Dan Choi, a gay Iraq war veteran who is fighting an Army discharge initiated after he acknowledged his sexuality on national television.

“I marched for many different things in the Army. We fought for many things,” Choi told the AP. “But when there are people who are discriminated against in our country, it is our responsibility to step up for them.”