December 10, 2008

"Call in Gay Day" is latest protest against California gay marriage ban

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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 day off.

The event is one of scores of grass-roots activities — from protests to boycotts to marches — that have sprung up in California and across the country since the passage of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marraige 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 “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 standup comedian who is coordianting it, also added an element of community service to the day, urging people to volunteer their time to help the needy.

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 across the grassroots since the passage of Proposition 8. After the ballot measure succeeded at the polls, many were harshly critical of the mainsream gay rights groups that ran the campaign opposing it. But Equality California, the group that coordinated the opposition, has been supportive of the grassroots activities, promoting the event on its website.

“There is a lot of both anger and activism thta is coming out of votesr 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 seemed amused by the fact thousands of people had signed on to a website pledging 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. But he added that he would be pleased if he become the Martin Luther King of the Gay Rights movement. “I really hope this is a huge deal. That would be awesome.”

Tags: day without a gay, day without gay, call in gay, gay day, gay day off

Source: LA Times

1 comment:

News Review said...

Gay people should be treated similarly as non-gay people. Thus, they should be allowed to marry regardless of the fact that the couple are of the same sex. What is to be given paramount consideration is that the couple love each other and are destined to be together. To deny them more of this right will surely cause greater inconvenience not only to the government but also to private sectors.