California's Supreme Court decision to lift the ban on gay marriage has revived the national gay marriage debate. Gay marriage opponents say the ruling demonstrates that constitutional measures are needed to prevent judges from subverting the will of the people. What these opponents know and understand is the fact that laws influence thinking and behavior. Already, a majority of Californian voters support gay marriage (51%, up from 28% in 1977), showed a poll released Wednesday by the Field Poll – a mere 2 weeks after the decision. And, not to put too fine a point on things, but the argument that judges subvert the will of the people is false. In California, the judges in the gay marriage case were all overwhelmingly elected by the voters.

Debate on the issue heated-up in New York after Governor David Paterson announced New York would recognize all valid gay marriages performed elsewhere. Opposition to the Governor's move was swift as gay marriage opponents in the Empire State cried foul. “It's a perfect example of a governor overstepping his authority and sidestepping the democratic process,” said Brian Raum, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a national organization opposed to gay marriage. “It's an issue of public policy that should be decided by the voters.” Yet what opponents fail to remember is that New York courts have already ruled to accept valid gay marriages performed elsewhere.

The decision has rippled into the conscious thinking of politicians everywhere. In Ohio, one misguided representative used the new buzz on gay marriage to defend his opposition to a gay equality bill. Jeff Wagner described the pending bill as “dangerous and misguided” in an email written to an Ohio constituent and later posted on the PFLAG website. “As that traditional family erodes, we see more sexually transmitted diseases, kids without parents, heartbroken people and I believe a host of mental and physical assured I can not support a bill in any way promotes or encourages the homosexual lifestyle,” Wagner wrote.

Here's a visual used during gay marriage strategy sessions.

And, it's certain ExxonMobil shareholders were thinking about all of this as they pondered whether to extend GLBT protections. While nearly 40% voted in favor of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the company's official equal employment opportunity policy – a record number since 2000, sadly, the measure failed. ExxonMobil, the world's largest company by revenue, remains the only Fortune 50 company that does not offer GLBT protections.

While America grapples with the issue of gay marriage, GLBT people around the globe remain without basic protections. According to the United Nations, it is estimated that 80 countries in the world outlaw homosexuality. One of those countries is Dubai, where police have mounted a weekslong campaign called Preserve Our Social Values. Several men and women were arrested for cross-dressing, though it was not clear what charges would be brought.

And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news of the happenings at New York's gay & lesbian film festival NewFest. Director/writer Steward Wade's Tru Loved - a drama of teen love amid gay happenings - opens the festival. And, director Tom Gustafson's spellbinding gay fantasy musical Were The World Mine makes its New York premiere.

[Editors note: Walter contemplates his future after breaking-up with his longtime, bisexual boyfriend Simon. Fiction from "Scenes From My Gay American Life" (tentative)]

Monday, in my office at work. I'm contemplating love gone wrong – was it love or just easy? – as I flip through photos of Simon on my iPhone. I had photographed every ordinary event in our lives, Simon sleeping in red flannel pajamas on a cold December morning, eating a ham sandwich at Mother's Diner, shaving after taking a hot shower. With no one to hold at night, I'd fallen into a deep rut. Some would say I was depressed. The iPhone photoshow application comes to a picture of Slim taken nearly two years ago at a French restaurant that has since closed. His face is lit by some mysterious source and he is surrounded by opaque globes of various colors. “Right now would be a good time to send down that angel. Someone to put me back together,” I say, looking at Slim's photo.

Michelle, my secretary, sits outside of my office and, when the blinds are open, as they are now, I have a clear view of her desk as she works. Across the hall from my office, John and Bill share an office. Michelle catches my glance, smiles and waves at me. I'm returning the smile when Hillary, my boss, dashes into my office.

She is carrying a small, rectangular box that I recognize. In fact, I had delivered it to her office a couple of weeks ago when it was delivered to my office mistakenly. The box had been delivered opened.

“Did you see this?” she says, pointing to the box. She flips open the box, then closes it quickly.

“Yeah. The data from the West Coast,” I reply.

She looks at me for a moment suspiciously, then sits down in a red leather chair in front of my desk.

“The data. Yes, the data. This box was open. Where's the DVD? Who does something this shitty?” she says, getting-up from the chair. She leans into my desk as I rise from my chair, opens the box to reveal nothing more than some paperwork, then snaps it shut.

“We can always replicate the data by transferring it from the Google computing cloud and burning our own DVD,” I say.

She walks away from me and catches Michelle peering into the office before quickly turning away. She opens the box again, this time she looks into the box herself, then turns to face me.

“Was this box open when you got it?” she demands, nearly in tears, pacing nervously.

“Yeah, the mail boy said FedEx delivered it opened. I told you this,” I respond.

This is ridiculous!!!” she shouts.

I glance down at my PC and notice an email from Bill asking, “What was that loud noise?” Hillary catches me reading the email and turns to look at Michelle.

“I'll ask Tech guy to download the data...” I begin.

“We need a meeting, right now!! This is ridiculous. Who does this kind of shitty thing!” she abruptly says, interrupting me. She opens the box again, looks at me, I look at her, she turns and looks at Michelle, I look at Michelle, and Michelle looks at both of us. I sit down as she closes the box and turns to leave. But at the doorway, she pivots and returns to my desk. I return to standing and without a word we stare at each other for several moments, then she lets out a little yelp and finally leaves. She runs down the hall as if on fire.

“What was that loud noise? WHAT JUST RAN BY?” Bill emails me.

“Not sure,” I type in response, “It's like Cloverfield.”

My company phone rings, “I think you've summoned it,” Bill says.

“I'm not sure. I'm still in shock,” I say, “Can we get a look at the Google satellite video feed?” Then, laughing, “I'm not sure it would reveal anything.”

“I'll secure the exits, while you prepare the tranquilizer darts,” Bill says.

“I got some Pop-Tarts,” I say, hopeful.

“What flavor?” Bill asks.

“Cherry-cheesecake,” I lie.

“Should work, if we can get her to swallow,” Bill says, then adds, “Did you know kids are flipping with flasks on their flops?”

“I have no idea what you're talking about. I got another call,” I say, bored with the new topic.

“Kids with flip...” Bill begins as I hang-up the phone.

Hillary has called all sales people into our conference room, or as we call it 'The Situation Room'. She's explaining the situation to about a dozen people. One dope interrupts her and reminds her that we could download the data from the Internet and burn our own DVD, which she ignores. Bill is seated across from me eating a ham sandwich. I'm eating a chocolate mint Balance bar.

“Kids with flasks attached to their flip-flops,” Bill text-messages to my iPhone.

“What do I do with my ankle flask? STOP SPAM TEXTING ME, THIS IS IMPORTANT,” I text back.

“I need a leg cast flask! STOP SPAMING ME!” he volleys back.

Barry, our freshman sales person, walks-in late to the meeting and sits down in a chair to my right. Hillary makes certain everyone knows he has arrived late, then begins explaining the situation from the top.

Barry scribbles a note and passes it to me, “Couldn't we burn a CD?”

“A DVD,” I write back on the same sticky note.

“A DVD?”

“Yes,” I respond.

“So what's this all about?” Barry writes.

“Gray's Anatomy withdrawal,” I write along the edge of the sticky note.

“Grey's Anatomy?” Barry writes.

I motion towards Hillary as if to say, “Pay attention, kid,” then tear the sticky note in two.

Bill turns his half-eaten sandwich towards me, pulls apart the two slices of bread revealing layers of pink ham. He opens and closes the sandwich in tandem with what Hillary is saying, mocking her. I laugh at this and accidentally drop what remains of my Balance bar, which I quickly pickup and begin eating again.

“Two second rule,” I text Bill.

“SPORES!” He texts backs, mouthing, “C-Dif,” and pointing at John.

I immediately spit out a ball of salivated, chewed chocolate into a napkin and rinse out my mouth with a bit of Trump water, sending Bill into a fit of quiet laughter.

Michelle enters the situation room and informs Hillary that I have an important meeting - which I do - and she excuses me from the meeting. As I'm leaving the room I hear someone, I think the dope that interrupted Hillary, sneeze, and Bill texts me, “SARS.”

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

PS – Make sure to check-out our new Pride Guide 2008.