Gay marriage in California is turning out to offer as much drama as the recently relaunched version of 90210: It's hot, no it's not.

Gay marriage fireworks have been going off since May, when the California Supreme Court overruled a 2000 voter-approved gay marriage ban, but it's now getting personal, even ugly, as we drawn down to the final two weeks of the race.

Two weeks ago, supporters of Prop. 8 – the anti-gay initiative that seeks to forbid gay marriage in the state once more – ratcheted up their attacks on gay marriage by trumpeting false claims that without Prop. 8 children would be taught gay marriage in public schools and churches would loose their tax status.

Meanwhile, gay marriage backers continued a lackluster marketing effort that eventually would fail. That narrative asked undecided voters to remain fair and reject Prop. 8's call to end marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

But after falling behind five points in the polls, the No-On-8 campaign moved to sharpen its tone with counter-ads that directly respond to the false accusations offered by the Yes-On-8 campaign.

“Their attacks have come before and they always use the same scare tactics,” an announcer says as Yes-On-8 ads are displayed in television screens. “This time they want to eliminate rights and they're using lies to persuade you. Prop. 8 will not affect church tax status. That's a lie. And it will not effect teaching in schools. Another lie. It's time to shut down the scare tactics.”

A new CBS/SurveyUSA poll out Friday showed the gay marriage campaign had managed to stop the bleeding and even pull ahead to within spitting distance. The poll of 615 likely California voters found that 48 percent favored passage of the ban, while 45 percent were against it.

Good news certainly, but with time running out can gay marriage in California be saved?

Gay marriage continues to dominate the gay news cycle. There was the announcement that chat show host Ellen DeGeneres – whose own September wedding to actress Portia de Rossi is in peril should the ban pass – would pony up $100,000 to buy TV airtime to promote her own pro gay marriage commercial. And Hollywood organized a star-studded fundraiser in support of gay marriage.

The topic in the South has divided a bitter Senate race between incumbent Republican Roger Wicker and his Democratic challenger Ronnie Musgrove.

In Mississippi's Senate race to complete the final four years of a six-year term vacated by Republican Trent Lott, a Wicker 30-second TV spot uses offensive gay stereotypes to smear his challenger.

In the ad, a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Musgrove fundraiser says, “We got a shot at defeating a conservative pro-life Senator.” People immediately line up to donate money, including a woman representing the Friends of Hillary Clinton PAC and a creepy-looking man representing the NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC.

“Let's go. Ronnie Musgrove has promised to support our liberal Democratic leadership,” says the fundraiser as the line continues to move along swiftly.

Actors portraying the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) PAC – the nation's largest advocate for gay and lesbian rights – step up to donate: One man is dressed as a cowboy and another in leather representing the 1970s disco band the Village People – an outdated and insulting gay stereotype.


“We just thought it would be in good fun to show Mississippians who's paying for these ads,” Wicker campaign spokesman Ryan Annison told The Associated Press.

The ad is not only insulting, the charges are also false. Musgrove is neither a pro-choice nor pro gay marriage candidate. And neither the Human Rights Campaign PAC nor the NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC have donated directly to the Musgrove campaign, reports The Associated Press.

On the bright side of gay and lesbian news, coming out gay is becoming increasingly moot.

A new Harris-Interactive national survey out this week reports that a majority (67%) of heterosexual adults agreed that they prefer honesty about sexual orientation over deceit and if someone they knew is gay or lesbian, they'd want to know. And a near universal majority (87%) of heterosexuals said that the coming out gay of an acquaintance would have a positive or no impact on how they view gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people.

And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news about the November 7th opening of director/writer Shamin Sarif's The World Unseen – a dramatic period film in which two women cope with multi-faceted discrimination as they fall in love in 1950s South Africa.

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