What to make of the Republican National Convention that just ended in St. Paul, Minnesota? If you're gay, the lack of gay inclusion at the gathering should speak to you.

Conservatives have emerged from the four-day convention energized, not by the man running for president, Senator John McCain, but from his choice of a running mate, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.

Palin has done what McCain has been unable to do for years: amp-up right-wing conservatives. And to effectively energize Christian conservatives, an anti-gay rights devotion is essential. And there's the rub.

Gay groups are protesting the Palin pick based on her anti-gay record. “Sarah Palin is against recognizing our relationships, against domestic partner benefits, and against hate crimes laws. ... The more we find out about her record, the more frightening her record becomes,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

And new information about the soon-to-be grandmother links Palin to James Dobson's ex-gay conference Love Won Out. The conference, to be held in Anchorage next week, is being supported by the church where Palin has prayed for about six years.

An insert in the bulletin of the Wassilla Bible Church says, “You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,” according to a report by The Associated Press.

Not one speaker at the Republican Convention mentioned issues important to gay voters such as adoption, marriage, serving openly in the military, hate crimes legislation or workplace discrimination. The Party Platform, however, does pledge to work towards a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Despite the lack of support for gay issues and further movement to the right, gay Republicans went ahead with an endorsement of the McCain-Palin ticket on Tuesday.

The Log Cabin Republicans said they were endorsing McCain because of issues that affected all Americans, like fiscal conservatism and a strong defense, not gay issues.

Seems improbable that many Americans would agree with the notion that Republicans are fiscal conservatives, given the economic tailspin of the last eight years. But, giving them the benefit of the doubt, the elephant in the closet remains: What good is domestic tranquility or a dynamic economy, if gays and lesbians are barred from participating?

A robust economy is a worthless proposition to gays and lesbians if a discriminatory workplace keeps them from participating. And if domestic tranquility is the byproduct of a strong defense, but gay marriage opponents push our relationships back into the closet, gay Americans will not enjoy that peace much.

For gay Americans, the emphasis needs to remain on the gay. That's all I'm saying.

But while I might be down on the group's endorsement of McCain, I'm very pleased with their new website that highlights Republicans who are against Proposition 8 – California's constitutional amendment which would once again ban gay marriage in the State.

The recently launched website features quotes, bios and interviews of prominent Republicans who oppose Proposition 8 including: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mary Cheney, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin, comedian Dennis Miller and Desperate Housewives Producer Marc Cherry. Councilpeople from various cities are also included.

And it was OuttakeOnline.com's own Charlotte Robinson who nabbed this interesting quote from openly gay writer/director Alan Ball on his new vampire-themed series True Blood: “The vampires are, for the most part, pretty bisexual. They're more interested in blood and they're less confined by the need to be one thing or another.” You can listen to the entire interview here.

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