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Gay marriage backers set "Day Without a Gay" event

Troy Stover, a supporter of gay marriage wears an "I Do" button outside New Haven City Hall in New Haven, Connecticut, November 12, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Same-sex marriage advocates plan to “Call in gay” on Wednesday in a protest designed to show Americans how big a part of daily life -- and the economy -- gays and their supporters are.

The Internet-organized project, which follows California’s passage of anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition 8, urges “Day Without a Gay” participants to skip work and volunteer in the community.

The idea is creating a controversy over how to garner support without protesters hurting their cause.

Californians struck down same-sex marriage last month, reversing a court decision that had affirmed the right. The November 4 vote stopped gay unions in California -- one of a handful of states, provinces and mostly European countries that allowed it.

After the vote, protest marches targeted U.S. temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, who were top supporters of California Proposition 8, which limits marriage to a man and a woman. That led to a nationwide protest day on November 15.

“In order for this movement to continue it can’t just be about marching and being pissed off. It’s got to be creative in different ways to get into the hearts and minds of moderate voters,” said creator Sean Hetherington.

The Los Angeles comedian and his boyfriend, Aaron Hartzler, put the focus on volunteering, although one of the groups behind the November 15 rallies,, urges people to shut businesses and avoid spending anything.

The protest appears inspired by the 2004 film “A Day Without a Mexican” which imagines the effect on California of a day when there are no Latinos, leading to chaos on the state.

Editing by Mohammad Zargham