Gay marriage news grabbed headlines once again this week. In California, as gay marriage advocates lost their bid to keep Proposition 8 – the constitutional amendment that seeks to override the Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage in the state – off the November ballot, a strange thing happened: Californians decided they liked the idea of gay people marrying. According to The Field Poll, there appears to be little support (42%) for the banning of gay marriage within the state.

In Massachusetts, the gay marriage news was equally good. With California becoming the only destination in the nation offering gay marriages to out-of-state couples – the Las Vegas of gay marriage, lawmakers decided that might be good business to be in. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to rescind a 1912 law that kept non-resident gay couples from marrying in the state. Governor Patrick Deval, whose daughter is a lesbian, has promised to sign the bill.

This, of course, opens new options for the East coast. With New York and Rhode Island accepting valid gay marriages performed elsewhere, Massachusetts could soon see a second gay marriage boom.

But it is the reduction of options by the Pope that disturbs some Australians.

Pope Benedict is in Australia for World Youth Day, a weeklong Catholic festival aimed at young people. He is expected to give mass to the pilgrims on Sunday. But his presence at the festival has drawn sharp criticism from protesters who have named him “chief homophobe.”

The NoToPope Coalition is made-up of atheist and gay groups critical of the Pope's anti-gay rhetoric. “The Pope's relentless anti-gay doctrinal approach has seen him declare gay men and lesbians as moral threats to society. He campaigns to repeal same-sex marriage in countries who have adopted it and has banned gay priests,” said NoToPope Coalition spokesperson Kristian Bolwell in a statement.

The demonstrators gave speeches at a rally held at Taylor Square Saturday. Wearing tshirts that read “Bless me father for I am homo” they handed out condoms to the pilgrims.

Earlier in the week, the coalition was facing a serious threat to their plan to distribute 6000 condoms as a new ordinance banned anyone from “annoying” the pilgrims. However, a federal court agreed with the protesters right to free speech, striking down the ban.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, prominent leaders were stirring-up their own anti-gay sentiments.

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain came under fire from gay groups and progressives when he said that he did not believe gays should be allowed to adopt children. “I think that we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family. So, no, I don't believe in gay adoption,” McCain told the New York Times.

Progressive blogs on the Internet balked at the high cost of eliminating good homes, while gay groups came closer to calling it what it was. “...Senator McCain would deny loving homes to children who desperately need them simply because of an outdated prejudice about what a family may look like,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) – a pro-gay group – in a prepared statement.

On Wednesday, Pat Robertson, conservative host of The 700 Club, smeared openly gay Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank (Democrat) when he claimed Frank had run a prostitution ring from his home in the early 90s. The truth is, as Media Matters points out, Frank had been cleared of the accusation in 1990 by the House ethics committee.

Here's a picture of Pat that hangs in the company cafeteria.

And in a fascinating new documentary that looks at the origin of homosexuality, handsome, openly gay British actor John Barrowman submits his own sexuality to testing to find answers. Is it genetics? The Making of Me is set to air in Britain on BBC1 on July 24th.

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