The aftershocks of gay marriage in
California continue to ripple throughout America, altering society in
dramatic new ways. While those supporting the decision have claimed
it a victory – it's a personal triumph for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, foes are strategizing their next move. They have
quickly moved to place a constitutional amendment banning gay
marriage on the November ballot – which, if passed, would void the
Supreme Court decision. Coincidentally,
they wish to delay enactment of gay marriage until after everyone has
had a chance to vote on gay civil rights in that November referendum. Nice.
Amid all this turmoil, Pope Benedict, the spiritual leader of Roman Catholics worldwide, has condemned the decision. “The union of love, based on matrimony between a man and
a woman, which makes up the family, represents a good for all society
that can not be substituted by, confused with, or compared to other
types of unions,” he said.
Documenting every last detail of this
fight will be Charlotte Robinson. The Emmy-winning director/producer has been hard at work documenting gay marriage in Massachusetts. She
says of the California decision, “Even after our decision [in
Massachusetts], we had to continue fighting. Californians who wish
for marriage equality are not done fighting.” You can visit
Robinson's website, interact with her on her blog, and view a short
on gay marriage at www.OUTTAKEonline.com.
Here's a picture representative of California's first time. It gets easier...maybe, even boring.
another apparent victory for gays & lesbians, groups are hailing a
federal court decision on Don't Ask, Don't Tell as the beginning of the
end for the policy. A
three judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals did not strike down the policy, but it said the military
must prove homosexuals in the ranks harm morale – for each
individual dismissed, placing the burden of proof on the military.
As it should be, right?
Further evidence that society is
evolving in its view of what being gay or lesbian means, Portland, Oregon has just elected a gay mayor. Sam Adams won by a huge
majority – 59%, in a field of twelve. The race managed to remain
about the issues and leadership, not the mayor-elect's sexual
orientation. Again, as it should be, right?
Yet, gay rights activists around the
world continue to fight for basic civil rights. This week a gay Iranian teen, who fears execution if forced to return to Iran, won the right to asylum in Britain. Mehdi Kazemi, 19, traveled to
London in 2005 to study English and while there learned that his
lover in Iran had been charged with sodomy and hanged.
And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news that RuPaul had thrown down the checkered flag in a race to find the fiercest drag queen in America. Watch
[Editor's note: Walter continues to pick-up the pieces of his life after entering a rehab clinic. ]
I'm running late to meet Simon for
lunch. I almost canceled our lunch due to the fact that Michelle had
scheduled a conflicting meeting for me with Todd Stevens.
I call Michelle again and ask if she's
been able to reach Todd Stevens to reschedule; she tells me no. I
simply thank her as I enter the restaurant where I have agreed to
Simon is seated at the end of a row of
tables near the back of the room. He's wearing a 'British khaki'
colored Baird McNutt linen suit from J.Crew, an indigo blue, smiling,
spouting whale tie rests easily on a solid white button-down shirt.
“Hi,” I say as I approach him.
“Hey, how you doing?” Simon
answers, happy to see me. “Are you growing a beard for summer?”
“Just lazy,” I answer, then quickly
add, “Busy, I've been so busy.” I sit down at the maple finish
table across from Simon and say, “You look great in my favorite
This morning during my jog I stumbled
upon an elderly couple sitting on a park bench. The men were holding
hands and they failed to notice me as I stopped to stare. One of the
men was caressing the other on the head and they were both crying.
The couple was lost in each other's gaze as they reminisced on the
life they had shared. And something, I'm not sure what, maybe death,
was pulling them apart. They kept saying, “I'm going to miss you.”
As I jogged back home my heart broke
thinking about the men sitting on the park bench, realizing that they
truly loved each other and had probably been around when being gay
was totally unacceptable. Had they cared then who knew? Did they
sit on that park bench when they were young holding hands? Or was it
only after decades of love and support that they gained the strength
to tell the world this was theirs?
And would I wait decades to say: This
“You always look great,” Simon
responds. “Since you said you were pressed for time, I went ahead
and ordered your favorite: Spinach and feta omelet, fresh fruit and a
“A Mimosa?” I ask.
“Yeah, your favorite.”
“Simon, I stopped drinking,” I say.
“You stopped drinking? When did this
“About eight weeks ago when I went to
California to a rehab clinic. I mentioned this to you,” I say.
“I don't think we were talking eight
weeks ago, were we?”
“No. This happened during the four
months when you were working on your conference and did not call me,”
I say, adding air quotes around the word 'working'.
“Walter, I was working.”
“And did you stop seeing Elizabeth
while you were working?” I ask, surprised at my own resentment.
He looks at me, arranging his tie which
does not need arranging, but remains silent.
“I think It's over, Simon,” I
Noticing I'm serious, he says, “She's
a woman, you're a man. You understand the idea of getting ahead.”
At this moment our waitress arrives
with our food and says, “He wasn't sure you were gonna show.”
I smile politely, then say pointing to
the Mimosa, “I'm just going to have coffee. Cream and sugar.
Sorry.” The waitress nods and leaves.
“OK, I get it,” Simon starts
saying, “I've been a bad boyfriend,” then in a whisper adds, “But
I love you.”
My heart races upon hearing this. Up
to this moment we had managed a three-year relationship without
commitment or love interfering in any way.
“I love you too,” I say, “But we
need to share our lives. We're always on the backburner. Our
relationship twists and turns, goes away, then starts again –
always at the beginning...”
“I can change. I don't want to loose
you,” he interrupts.
I look down at my omelet and swallow
hard, but remain motionless, quiet.
“You know I've got a crush on you,”
“Don't,” I say, my eyes beginning
to fill with tears.
“I've got a crush on you,” he says,
I look at him for a moment, then say,
“That's nice to hear.”
“Tell me you have a crush on me,
I gaze into his eyes, they show me
someone new – perhaps he does love me. My heart is sad, but
looking at him I want to share everything with him. I want to feel
freedom with him.
“I do. I do have a crush on you,”
I finally answer, reaching for his hand. But, noticing the waitress
returning with my coffee, he does not give it to me. “But that's
just not enough anymore.”
And as the words form in my mouth, who
would have guessed I would have the strength to say goodbye.
Later, at home, I'm channel-surfing.
Madonna is gyrating to a 'sticky & sweet' lyrical hook, gay
marriage pops-out of California, and Katie Couric is reporting that
possibly millions have been made homeless by a powerful earthquake in
China. Footage of the disaster shows dead people lying in the
streets, buildings in ruins, livestock decaying by the side of a
road. In a makeshift camp, a little girl sits on a pile of rubble,
clutching a small bowl of rice. She's wearing a blue striped dress
and her black straw-like hair has been pinned up with a pink bow.
She looks directly at me – her eyes are enormous – and we stare
at each other for a long time. I choke up and try to hold back my
tears, then she walks away. She passes campfires and old people in
blankets, young people with broken limbs and animals walking around
aimlessly, then finally disappears into one of the tents. Madonna is
I'm shaving before going to bed and I
barely recognize the man in the mirror. I don't know if I'm moving
forward or backwards, but I sleep soundly this night.
Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top
Magazine and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gay Slant pops-in most Saturdays at On Top Magazine.
Photo credit Charlotte Robinson