Gay rights activists encouraged homosexuals across the nation to take the day off from work Wednesday, in protest of a state constitutional amendment that ended same-sex marriage in California.
Organizers said the goal of "Day Without a Gay" was to show how important the gay community is to American society. Instead of going to work, Wednesday's participants were asked to "call in gay" and do something charitable in protest of the voter-passed Prop 8 that ended gay marriage.
"We didn't want this to be another white powder sent to the Mormon temple," said Shawn Hetherington, co-founder of the idea.
Since California voters passed Prop 8 in November, several churches and buildings have been vandalized, most of them Mormon. Hetherington told CNN that many people spent the day volunteering at HIV/AIDS centers, Habitat for Humanity, and even "moderate" churches.
But some say a protest calling for people to take the day off in a time of recession is a bad idea.
"If I decided to not show up to work for a couple of days to get my point across, I'd probably lose my job," resident Dennis Smith commented.
David Craig, who also helped organize the event, hoped the one-day protest would show Americans just how many people the gay marriage ban affected.
"Gays and lesbian workers, they're employees, they're business owners, they pay taxes," he began, "and yet they're denied their full and equal rights in this society."
Join the Impact, the Internet site that helped launch protests against gay marriage bans in the U.S., claims gay consumers spend about $700 billion annually.
Other options to participate in the day included not spending money, not using the Internet, not watching TV or using a cell phone, or for business owners, shutting down for the day.
Day Without a Gay will end with a march and rally in San Francisco.
Source: Los Angeles Times, CNN