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'Day Without a Gay' is latest protest against California gay marriage ban

Gay-rights activists are encouraging people to “call in gay” to work today to demonstrate how integral gay people are to American society.

“We are here, and we are not second-class citizens, and we deserve the same rights as everyone else,” said Julio Perez, a restaurant manager in Chicago who is planning to take the day off.

The event is among scores of grass-roots activities — including protests, boycotts and marches — that have sprung up in California and across the country since the passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, along with other anti-gay ballot initiatives in Arizona, Florida and Arkansas.

It was first proposed by Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein and is patterned after the 2006 "A Day Without a Mexican" work stoppage. After Stein wrote a Nov. 14 column proposing the idea (which he said he got from a friend), activists seized upon it and chose Dec. 10, which is International Human Rights Day. Sean Hetherington, a personal trainer and stand-up comedian who is among those coordinating the event, urged protesters to use the day to do volunteer work.

Read more after the jump.

--Jessica Garrison

"We didn’t want this to be another white powder sent to the Mormon temple," Hetherington said, referring to a widely criticized act in the days after the election.

Many expressed anger at Mormons because their members contributed so much money to the passage of Proposition 8. Now, Hetherington said, he hopes people will view gay-rights activists as "doing something positive."

He said he plans to volunteer his time at a South Los Angeles school. His website also lists volunteer opportunities at non-profits around the country.

The event is one more example of how the push for gay marriage and other gay rights has exploded since the passage of Proposition 8. After the ballot measure succeeded at the polls, many were harshly critical of the mainstream gay-rights groups that ran the campaign opposing it.  Still, Equality California, the group that coordinated the opposition, has been supportive of the grassroots activities, promoting the "Day Without a Gay" event on its website.

"There is a lot of both anger and activism that is coming out of voters eliminating people’s rights,” said Geoffrey Kors, the head of Equality California.

That is good, he said: "The more people talk about this issue ... the more we advance our rights." Stein was surprised at his role in spurring thousands of people to go online and pledge to participate.

"Honestly, I don’t think anything I’ve ever written has caused anyone to change the way they think, let alone do anything," he said with amusement. "I really hope this is a huge deal. That would be awesome."

Comments () | Archives (59)

You idiots, the only ones that will be hurt by this are the gay business owners. Tell me you don't try and shop at gay or gay friendly business and I will tell you about a little bridge in Brooklyn I have for sale. Also, the majority of the people I see saying they are going to take off had already palnned on being off anyway. With economy as bad off as it is I can not afford to take any time off without pay. Last time I checked, being gay is not a legitimate excuse to miss work so good luck to those that get fired over it.

im not to sure if i counts on my behalf but when i read about "call in gay day" i freaked out because it was a great idea. i think that people should be allowed to get married regardless of their sexual orientation, i live in kansas and think that all states should be fallowing in the footsteps of the other counrties and states legalising gay marriage. As a bi sexual i think things would turn out much better for this cause if it wasnt just a one time event but more monthly then anually.

Everytime I hear of homosexuals calling themselve "the new black", I get so ticked off I wanna yell. First of all, the civil rights movement believed in God and no matter how many were killed or injuried during a protest, they never spoke against God or blamed God for their misfortune, even when some whites were using the bible(cross burning ect.) to condone their action.

Most outspoken homosexuals are white men and women who have benefited and are currently benefiting from past discrimination and oppression of other minorites. Now, that they created a new homo fad, they think they can be in comparison with minorites and have the rights to seek support from these groups to help fight their cause.

Well, speaking as a man of a minority group who have felt discrimination most of my life, I say, fight your own battle and leave us the hell out of it. As far as the NAACP goes, I find them to be a disgrace representing the homosexuals. They(NAACP) can keep having their banquets and pretend they still have clout in the black community.

Lastly, I can go on for quite some time showing reasons why homosexual rights are not in comparison with the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s. Time right now doesn't permit me to do so.

Will married gays get an examption when Obama revives the draft?

I think calling in "gay" is a dumb idea, that's like me calling in "straight", or calling in "female." There are laws about sexual harrassment and discrimination at work, and in my opinion you are bringing your sexual preferences to work by calling in gay, which could have people filing charges on you.

No on 8 people like to blame the Mormons but they ought to blame themselves. What they are seeking to legitimize is immorality. Americans are standing up for morality but responsibility in the gay world is not an attribute. In fact it is blaming everyone but themselves. We must hold the line on morality.

Gay people should be given equal rights as non-gay people.. Nothing will be lost on the Californian government if they legalize same-sex marriage..

Can we have a day without straights and see how the world operates with out them? Quit whinning and get to work !!

As a straight black male, I totally support the gays... I am very ashamed that my African American Community, the Mormons, and the religious-right have taken away the right of gays to marry in California.
It is a damn shame that half the population is regressive.

I am a proud, black, straight, man and I love and support gays and lesbians.

I do not support hate, and bigotry.

The Mormons are the root cause of this... and they need to pay for what they have done.

Let people live, and do as they please.

Your kids won't turn gay. Your kids won't become evil. Your kids.... will be more enlightened.

Progress is key. I hope California overturns prop-8.
And I hope that this goes to the Supreme Court, so that gays in EVERY state can get married.



This is a great idea! It appears to be having an effect at my workplace at least. Hopefully we will get benefits, as they have been talking about this... this idea has been so sucessful, it makes me wonder if we shouldn't take it one step further and make: Decade Without a Gay ... whaddya think? ;p

Amazing to me how the gay community cries for everyone to be tolerant of their views but show only distain for everybody else's view. Life is not fair and it never will be. You will have to tolerate us as we will have to tolerate you and agree to disagree. Marriage is defined as a man and woman period. On the spiritual route, God made it that way and on the evolutionary route man and woman need to come together to have children for the species to survive. Humans are physically made to have children, men impregnate women bear it's simple biology. There has been provisions made for domestic partners and relationships that have been made into law. Bottom line the people have spoken for the choice as the next president and about this Proposition 8. Democracy at work.

I dont get it, this is not a human rights issue, not a civil rights issue. It's a defintion.."marrige is between a man and a woman", period! If I was an african american I would be sick, that gay people equate the Gay Marrige Ban to the civil rights movement of the 60's. GIVE ME A BREAK.. I hope they continue bashing this idea and piss off even more voters. By the way 73% of Hispanic and Black voters, voted yes on 8.

The people spoke on prop 8, and in 22 other states. I guess if you dont like the outcome of the democratic process, you should find somewhere else to live.

Curently you have the same rights under the law, transfer of assets, joint tennant, visitation in hospitals, etc... We stay out of your business, stay out of ours!!!!

Your lifestyle is not normal, and never will be no matter how you spin it.

Hey Matt - ever heard of a guy called Matthew Shepard? You know, the college student beaten sensless, hung on a fence and left to die because he was gay?

What would Jesus say about THAT?

If "Calling In Gay" Day were to happen on a Sunday, no church would have anyone to play the organ.

I find it amusing that we live in a country that was in part founded by the doctrines and beliefs based on a book that was written in the part of the world that we are at war in.Small world.

This whole debate over 'gay' marriage is bunk! Marriage defined as being between a man and woman does not descriminate against gays. The sexuality of the man and woman is not required to be married. A gay man can marry a gay woman. There is no reason to change the definition of marriage since California already has Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions that provide all the same benefits of marriage.

I would just like to say that gay and lesbians are not a race they are a lifestyle alternative. You don't deserve the same rights as races.

Get over the loss of your vote. Obviously CA people are not as liberal as you think.

This is a crazy debate. Equal Rights: I'm a straight man and can't marry a man. I'm not crying about that. If the gays would quit making it a moral issue, and talk about it in terms of the gov't's control, they may make more allies. I don't want the gov't telling me who I can and can't marry. But, I also don't like the idea of legalized marriage. The people of California said it would be illegal, and last time I checked, African-American voters had a huge impact on this decision. How is it acceptable that they compare their plight to the plight of African-Americans? I would be extremely upset if I were an African-American. Gays - Make it your own issue, don't compare it to others struggles. You are only making your argument look foolish and you appear to be reaching.

The voters here in California made their opinion known. Get the hell over it and get on with your lives. This is a democracy, remember that, you should be glad that there is a civil union or domestic partnership rule. If the choice made by the voters of California bother you that much, move to a place where the population is more excepting of your life style, if there is one.

Straight man speaking... I think you gay guys are being too nice.

Isn't it about time the gays grew up?

Wow! I hate blogging, but this one I had to weigh in on. There are many ignorant people commenting on here. For those of you to whom this pertains, ignorance is a lack of knowledge, not stupidity. I know it's hard for you to make that distinction. It is 2008. We have things like computers, internet, and Wickipedia. There is no excuse for ignorance. Stupidity is another story however.

Marriage was created by man. It was originally a Pagan ritual. The whole concept of marriage being an institution that is somehow condoned by this so-called god that you worship is just plain dumb. Learn your history, not the fairy tales that are taught to you in church.

I really like the idea of "holding the line of morality". Especially when it comes from someone named Realist Above All.
Here's the definition of morality:
1. conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.
2. moral quality or character.
3. virtue in sexual matters; chastity.
4. a doctrine or system of morals.
5. moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.

Take a look at your life, and ask yourself if you're really the model of morality. Don't answer now, because you'll just be defending yourself. Take a personal inventory and really see where you are. I'll bet you'll find yourself standing in your glass house wondering what you're really doing. Be a true Realist.

Mr. Jefferson... Thank you! I too am ashamed of the historical stigma and division that has occurred among the different races of this world. Who in this world is really any better than anyone else. We should all be ashamed of ourselves that we can't at the very least have respect for our fellow mankind, regardless of anything.

For the person speaking to the spirtual and evolutionary development of humanity... It is no longer true that a man and woman are required to reproduce. Unfortunately, we can continue your ignorant bloodline through science. Of course, you probably don't believe in science do you? (As you type on your plastic keyboard and drive your car to work) Perhaps you need to understand the significance of overpopulation and how if affects the world. There is plenty of information on it available for you to study.

Now on to my opinion....

It's all good. I'm a gay man. I love being gay. Nothing that anyone does is going to change that. I can argue the "God" principles with the best of them, but when it comes to the end of the day, I go home to my Partner, and we love each other. Can you really say the same.

The world IS changing. Fight it all you want. It just means that we will fight harder. You will not win this war, nor will you win the next war that you try to fight based on Hatred. Put aside your concepts of Hate and God, and join the rest of humanity in ushering in an new generation of tolerance and understanding so that we can move past these Dark Ages and become something worthwhile on this planet.

As the Man says - "Never Give Up!"

I think that this is an issue - and NO they do not have the same rights. I don't think that having gay's marry is going to make marriage any less speical. It is suppose to be between two people that are going to cherish and love each other forever, I can say that I do not wish to miss that opportunity therefore I will not support the idea to take that away from anyone. It is a civil rights issue - they can be fired from work for their sexual orientation, they don't have the same rights. It might not be to the extent of the Civil RIghts movement but now we are in a little different field people are pushing their religious beliefs on others. If your church will not marry gays so be it, if another church thinks that god loves all people and would want them to be happy and they will provide that survice why not. Live and let live keep church and state seperate.

Since when is a public adult temper-tantrum considdered a civil rights movement? I bet those who were a part of the REAL civil rights movement .. those who actually didnt have any civil rights (not just didn't get their way, and got their feelings hurt) and had to fight for them aren't too happy about the way the Gay's are watering down and degrading everything they did when they publically relate themselves to the REAL civil rights movement.

Gays can do more now because they are gay ALREADY and all u want is more more more .. just like a spolied little brat who has a tantrum when he/she doesn't get their way. Its sad and pathetic. You want to marry? Then go marry, have your cerimonies and your cake and your public declarations .. heck you can even legally bind it as a civil union and pay your glorious taxes together as one too! Just face the facts that the heterosexual world knows you are not the same as us and there's no reason why we, the vast majority, should change the laws of the land, which should be geared to govern the majority, just to cow-tie to your small minority desires...especially when you, as only a SELF-PROCLAIMED minority group (not an actually legally defined one) already have specific rights defined for you and your particular sexual preference. Please get over it ! If you need a hug, then come here.. I'll hug each of you for an entire hour if it means it'll help you get over this embarrassing display of so-called "activism".

Californication, you wrote "The people spoke on prop 8, and in 22 other states. I guess if you dont like the outcome of the democratic process, you should find somewhere else to live."
What if they put the right for blacks to vote or blacks to marry white people or go to the same schools as whites on the ballot in the 50's and 60's.Do you know what the outcome would have been back then...... yeah! How dare you say gays should find somewhere else to live! Not when gays are LAW abiding/tax paying citizens just like you. They have families, go to work, volunteer in their communities JUST LIKE YOU. This is America, land of the FREE! if you don’t like that then YOU find another place to live.

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