“Don't Ask, Don't Tell” - the military's ban on gays and lesbians serving openly - is getting a lot of attention lately. On Monday a Palm Center report concluded that the policy should be dropped. The study was conducted by four retired military officers. “Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion,” the study stated.

The fifteen-year old law, enacted as a compromise of sorts by the Clinton administration, will also be the focus of CBS's newsmagazine 60 Minutes Sunday. The show is set to rebroadcast a story featuring openly gay Army Sergeant Darren Manzella. In the story Manzella reveals he had been openly out to his superiors without incident. He says he was investigated for being gay and even supplied the Army with photos of his boyfriend. But when the investigation ended he was told to go back to work. Six months after CBS aired the show, Manzella was fired. Sunday's rebroadcast will include an update of what happened after the show aired.

It's that time again – hot and humid weather? - no, political season. As politicians gear-up for the fall fight, conservatives are throwing-in their fodder of homophobia to the fire.

In Florida, as two gay candidates look to replace outgoing, anti-gay Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle, the lame-duck mayor continues his divisive rhetoric. When asked if a gay candidate could win the mayor's office, Naugle said: “I think that a homosexual does have a chance to be elected... if a responsible homosexual would run for office and reject that kind of activity, if a responsible homosexual were to run for office and do something about the AIDS crisis -- recognizing that promiscuous activity has a heavy cost on human life and dollars.” The mayor was referring to gay men having sex in public parks – a theme he has returned to often. Yet, police records indicate few problems with gay men in the parks and, worse, a higher incidence of sexual activity between heterosexual couples. Not revealed in this story, as it came to light the next day, a judge on Friday agreed with a gay man that his arrest in a park constituted police entrapment.

In Massachusetts, state lawmakers are finally coming around to voting on a 1913 law that bans out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts – four years after gay marriage was made available in the state. The law remained in place due to support from former Governor - and former GOP presidential candidate - Mitt Romney. The new Governor, Deval Patrick, supports repeal of the law.

In Arkansas, the Family Council Action Committee (FCAC) is behind a new proposal to ban unmarried couples from adopting children. On Monday, the group met a deadline to submit signatures to the Secretary of State to place the Arkansas Adoption Action on the fall ballot. The State still needs to verify signatures. But if passed the law would make it illegal for adoptive and foster care children to be placed in homes with individuals who cohabit with a sexual partner. The FCAC website makes the purpose of the law all too clear: “Laws have been passed in eight states that support the homosexual agenda when it comes to the adoption or foster care of children. Arkansas has no law to prevent homosexual adoption. Homosexuals are adopting children and this will continue until a law is passed.”

The FCAC is willing to ban all adoptions of unmarried couples – straight or gay – and deny countless children a loving home in exchange for pure political gain.

And for Senator John McCain, at least one advisor is telling him he should consider an anti-gay platform in his race for the presidency. On Fox News Sunday, the Weekly Standard executive editor and The Beltway Boys co-host Fred Barnes, said he believed McCain needed to use the issues of gay marriage and “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” to rally conservative voters.

“Here's what he needs to do, he needs to touch on some of the social issues which energize the right... In particular, gays in the military for one. We know Barack Obama is for allowing gays in the military, and Bill Clinton tried to do, but backed off. This is not a popular issue. Gay marriage is another one. These are both issues that I think McCain's going to have to use. You can't ignore the right. If he does, he'll loose,” Barnes said.

Is it possible that Barnes has not kept up with recent polls? The military's ban on gays serving openly is basically a job discrimination issue. And a recent Values and Beliefs poll by opinion group Gallup shows near universal support of equal rights for gays in terms of job opportunities (89%). And while the topic of gays and lesbians continues to be the most divisive issue in American politics, a majority (57%) accept homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. So, please, John, take the advice.

Here's a recent picture of McCain surrounded by advisors.

And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news of another cowboy of sorts. Steven Daigle is a 35 year-old champion bull rider in the gay rodeo circuit ready to have us all gawk at him 24/7 on CBS's Big Brother 10.

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