The event in Roanoke marked the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.
About 20 people gathered in downtown Roanoke on Saturday to support gay rights, organizers said.
The third annual Stonewall Remembrance Rally was organized months ago but fell coincidentally the day after New York legislators passed a landmark bill legalizing gay marriage in that state.
The Stonewall riots of 1969, which took place in New York City, are often recognized as the beginning of the gay rights movement in America.
Half a dozen people spoke at the Roanoke event, which was held in Century Square between Kirk and Church avenues, said Betsy Parkins, 44, the founder of a networking group for professionals in Roanoke's gay community.
Parkins said the rally took on new meaning after the New York gay community's legal victory.
"To me, it's a sentimental moment in our work toward equality," she said of the bill's passage. "It's incredibly important."
With the New York bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state becomes the largest in the country to allow same-sex marriage. Five other states permit gay marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, plus the District of Columbia.
Virginia voters in 2006 ratified an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as "a union between one man and one woman."
Parkins, an account executive for a Roanoke advertising agency, said the gathering reaffirmed her hope that Virginia will one day allow gay marriage.