With Connecticut joining the short list of states that recognize gay marriage on Friday, only an additional 3.5 million Americans have won the right to marry whomever they choose. But add Connecticut border states New York and Rhode Island, who have already announced they will recognize valid gay marriages performed elsewhere, and Massachusetts, the first state to allow gay marriage, and you've got yourself a gay marriage enclave 31 million strong.

Along with California, nearly a quarter of the nation (22%) agrees that gay people have the right to marry.

While the Connecticut ruling remains safe for now, it's not the end of the debate for the New England state. Because, coincidently, there is a measure on the November ballot to force a convention where delegates rewrite the entire constitution. Anti-gay foes have hitched their wagon here. They propose wasting millions of tax dollars on the painstaking process of rewriting their entire state constitution to simply add one amendment that forbids gay marriage. Additionally, in a heavily Democratic state like Connecticut the process favors gay marriage advocates since legislators would appoint constitutional convention delegates.

That's why, Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell, a gay marriage opponent, said she is “firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision either legislatively or by amending the state constitution will not meet with success.”

Meanwhile, gay marriage in California is facing a very real threat from a November ballot initiative that seeks to ban it.

A new CBS/SurveyUSA poll shows Proposition 8 – the ballot initiative that would outlaw gay marriage in the state once again – winning. Two weeks ago, the same poll indicated just the opposite.

According to the poll, voters now favor the gay marriage ban by a five-point margin, 42-to-47 percent.

The sudden change of heart is being credited to a Yes-on-8 television advertisement featuring an unfortunate sound bite from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, which began airing last Monday.

The Yes-on-8 (Proposition 8) commercial begins with Newsom at a May 15th rally at City Hall, where he is seen celebrating the state Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage.

“This door's wide open now. It's going to happen – whether you like it or not,” Newsom declares to a cheering crowd.

The reason for Newsom's inclusion in the video is obvious: He appears self-satisfied and smug as he declares, “Whether you like it or not.”

Producers of the 30-second spot immediately pounced on the cocky image of gay marriage's most ardent ally, using it freely throughout. When a female announcer says, “We don't have to accept this [gay marriage],” Newsom reappears and boisterously declares, “Whether you like it or not.”

The ad warns that without Proposition 8, people would be sued over personal beliefs, churches could loose their tax exemption, and gay marriage would be taught in public schools.

Gavin Newsom is often credited with opening gay marriage in California. In 2004, he ordered San Francisco clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples against state law. Those marriages were eventually invalidated by the state Supreme Court. But a May decision by the court found a 2000 voter-approved gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Since then thousands of gay couples have wed in the Golden State.

“It [Newsom's sound bite] showed the arrogance of this measure on the part of those and the four justices who essentially want to cram it down everyone's throat,” Tom Loarie of the Yes-on-8 campaign told KPIX.

Behind much of the $10 million advantage that gay marriage opponents hold is the Mormon Church.

Mormons, whose members only make up about twelve percent of California's population, have donated an estimated 75% of the $25 million raised to pass Proposition 8.

“It appears that at least 75% of the $25 million raised by Yes-on-8 is from members of the Mormon Church,” wrote Californians Against Hate Campaign Manager Fred Karger in an email.

Mormons have heeded their leaders' calls to support the gay marriage ban. They have made donations large and small and even set up a website that allows outsiders to track their giving at mormonsfor8.com.

Other religious organizations have also contributed heavily to the anti-gay measure. The Knights of Columbus, the political arm of the Catholic Church of New Haven, Connecticut, gave $1.2 million, and organizations representing Evangelical Christians – American Family Association, Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America – have given a combined $1.4 million.

While many churches have ratcheted-down their angry anti-gay rhetoric – using false arguments against gay marriage more in line with it being incompatible with child rearing – at least one homo-hating politician has not.

Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern drew a firestorm of protest from gay groups in March when she said, “I honestly think it's [homosexuality] the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam,” at a gathering of Republicans in Oklahoma City.

Since then, the Baptist minister's wife has continued berating gays and lesbians without apology.

In a heated debate Thursday against her Democratic challenger, Ron Marlett, she said: “While terrorism has killed more than 3,000 people in the continental United States in the last 15 years, homosexual behavior has killed more than 100,000. It's a danger to life. It is a danger to health.”

And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news about the premiere of Hot Gay Comics on cable channel here!

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

PS – I would be remiss if I failed to mention that On Top Magazine celebrated its 3rd anniversary on Saturday with a Peppermint Patty favorite of chocolate molten cake and peppermint ice cream at local eating house Luxe. And this column, The Gay Slant, will celebrate its 1st anniversary next month. Thanks, we couldn't have done it without you.