It's almost here, and if you're like me, it's not a day too soon. Election Day that is.

For gay and lesbian Americans, a season for change and hope has been tarnished with divisive anti-gay ballot amendments and a lack of serious consideration for gay and lesbian issues by the presidential campaigns.

The four major anti-gay ballot measures throughout the United States share one thing in common: They seek to diminish the lives of gay people. In Arizona, California and Florida, constitutional bans on gay marriage would limit marriage to one man and one woman. And an Arkansas measure looks to override an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling allowing gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt and foster children in the state.

Early on in the campaign season, political pundits held the notion that social-conservative wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage would play only minor roles in this year's elections. Tell that to California, where the hate machine has broken all financial records to re-ban gay marriage in the state – a bank-busting $70 million is being spent to decide gay marriage in the state.

Supporters of gay marriage bans appear likely to win in Arizona , where a similar issue failed in 2006. But in Arkansas, California and Florida, the measures remain too-close-to-call.

Proponents of Proposition 8, as the gay marriage ban is called in California, amped up their anti-gay rhetoric this week; Rev. Jim Garlow, who has taken a leadership position in organizing the anti-gay marriage religious forces, said it would result in the “destruction of Western civilization,” Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, said America would “not survive” it, and Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, likened gay marriage to the reign of Hitler. Afterwards, they decided to pray away gay marriage.

On Saturday, TheCall gathered thousands of evangelical Christians to San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium for a day-long event of praying and fasting in support of social conservative issues including gay marriage bans and limits on abortion.

But while organizers describe the event as non-political – “We're not there to make a political statement,” said TheCall Founder Lou Engle – proponents of gay marriage say it's clearly an anti-gay political rally.

“Clearly the focus is on taking away this right [to gay marriage],” said Dale Kelly Bankhead, a No-On-8 spokeswoman. “It seems political to us.”

But worse, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group that tracks hate groups in America, has linked TheCall Founder Lou Engle to Joel's Army, a militant Christian fundamentalist group that advocates for the replacement of the American government with pro-Christian leaders that observe strict biblical laws.

The outrageous and clearly hate-fueled rhetoric of the past week is likely to bolster gay marriage backers, as it reveals what gay marriage ban supporters had attempted to hide: Gay marriage bans have more to do with homophobia than protecting anything.

It might just be the reason why so many political leaders have urged voters to reject the gay marriage bans – Illinois Senator Barack Obama, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, California Senator Diane Feinstein and Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger included.

Finally, if you're ready to ditch all this election mayhem like I am – but love being jolted – be sure to check out the campy horror five gay couples face in The Gay Bed & Breakfast Of Terror, now playing in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver.

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