IT'S VICTORY IN CALIFORNIA FOR GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATES! It is historic, momentous, and it definitely feels good after the countless passages of Constitutional bans since the Massachusetts ruling that approved gay marriage in that state. “When I first heard the news I felt the same way I did when it happened here [Massachusetts], it brought tears to my eyes,” said Charlotte Robinson, an Emmy Award-winning director/producer who is working on a documentary on gay marriage (On Top Magazine will have a full story on her & her film Monday. You can visit her site for information at More on gay marriage in California after the news update.

And feeling good is clearly what we want. A new survey conducted by Prime Access and PlanetOut found that gay and lesbians are more likely to buy from a company whose business philosophy appears to be inclusive of them. Topping the list of companies gay consumers perceive as gay-friendly is NBC Universal's cable channel Bravo. Yeah, well, Bravo is queerer than Logo - not to mention more entertaining - that's a no-brainer.

Hospitals, however, generally rate poorly on the gay-friendly vibe. A new annual index reporting on the gay-friendliness of hospitals gave only 88 hospitals top marks. The new rating system, called the Healthcare Equality Index, was created by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. It is modeled after HRC's Corporate Equality Index, which rates corporations on equality policies for gay and lesbian employees in the workplace.

Gay pride and a positive gay image has been at the center of the Gay Pride movement, now celebrated throughout the globe in June. But today's International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) event turns the tables on the story, making it clear that it is society's internalized homophobia which is responsible for low-esteem among GLBT people. The event, now in it's fourth year, has become popular in the UK, Spain, Canada, and some South American countries. In the UK, London organizers plan to mark the day honoring Jody Dobrowski, who was beaten to death in a homophobic attack. And in Cuba, yes communist Cuba, a weekslong anti-homophobic festival culminates with IDAHO.

This picture illustrates how some peeps just don't get it.

And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report which brought me news that Gus Van Sant's Harvey Milk biopic Milk was set to screen at the 61st annual Cannes International Film Festival. Milk is the story of America's first openly gay elected official, who is tragically murdered. The film already has an Oscar buzz going.

This week the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage in a landmark ruling out Thursday. California now becomes only the second state to allow gay marriage after Massachusetts. Initial reaction to the news depended largely on your political affiliation. Gay rights activist hailed the ruling as a victory for gay rights, while Conservatives, like Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson, were outraged by the decision.

Conservatives have vowed to continue the fight by advancing a referendum on a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. And while prominent leaders in California are supporting the court's decision, primarily Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the court's own dissenting judges, Chin, Baxter, and Corrigan, wrote that the issue should be decided by the voters.

That's outrageous. Judges who pass the buck on human rights issues back to the electorate by claiming this is the 'will of the people'.  How quickly we've forgotten about Jim Crow laws. They were laws, passed by legislatures that in effect made African-Americans second-class citizens and if voted upon would have easily won a majority in their time. Would a rational person today believe it right to put such discriminatory laws to a popular vote? Why then, in 2008, when the world has advanced on the issue of gay marriage, when Canadians have marriage equality and a gay couple can marry in many European countries, do people still support such blatantly discriminatory legislation?

It is clear that after gay marriage became a reality in 2004 in Massachusetts, acceptance of gays & lesbians -- not just gay marriage, increased dramatically in the state. The only conclusion one can reach is that homophobic people -- racist for that matter -- feel their actions justified when sanctioned by the law. Anti-gay legislation fuels homophobic feelings and actions.

Cultures change, movement is forward, and if we as Americans want to hold high a banner of human rights to the world without sounding hypocritical, then more states need to follow California's lead.

Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top Magazine and can reached at The Gay Slant pops-in most Saturdays at On Top Magazine.