- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gay rights activists hope a “Big, Gay ‘I Do’” wedding celebration in Charleston shows the dollars South Carolina’s businesses are losing to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

With federal courts overturning similar bans elsewhere, advocates in a city that’s already one of the nation’s top wedding locales decided to protest South Carolina’s ban by throwing a party. Dozens of Charleston businesses have donated to the wedding weekend in January organized by the Alliance for Full Acceptance.

The gay couple who submits the winning auction bid will be treated to a wedding package worth more than $45,000. The only caveat: The couple must come with a marriage license in hand.

Alliance director Warren Redman-Gress says participating businesses know that lifting the ban would bring them more customers.

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