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
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
“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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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