Ok, admittedly it's unconventional: Gay rights progress from a gay marriage ban?

A long week of daily protests culminated in one giant nationwide protest against California's passage of Proposition 8 – the constitutional amendment that once again forbids gay marriage in the state – on Saturday, progress for a gay rights movement?

Despite losing in California, Arizona and Florida, it's progress for the simple fact that it has united gays and lesbians, spurred gay youth to activism, and lifted our voices higher than they have ever been heard before. Our resolve has been strengthened and turning back is no longer an option.

After passage of thirty constitutional amendments banning gay marriage across the nation over the past ten years, California's pushed too far.

In California, voters not only banned gay marriage, they also reversed a California Supreme Court ruling issued in May that allowed gay marriages to begin. That ruling was based on the equal protection clause of the California constitution. Passage of the gay marriage ban leaves 18,000 gay marriages hanging by a thread.

Altering the constitution through a propaganda of misinformation to erase legitimate gains made by gays and lesbians is downright Orwellian.

Fallout for some has come swiftly – an arts director quit this week after gay activists protested his support of the gay marriage ban and protests at Mormon temples continue – prompting gay activists to issue warnings.

Speaking to OUTTAKEOnline CEO Charlotte Robinson, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil Giuliano cautioned protesters.

“I think it is important that people are exercising their right to demonstrate and protest,” the former Tempe, Arizona mayor said. “But I think we do have to be careful and protest on the content of what happened in the election and the fact that it was funded primarily through a church's communication effort without commenting on that church's beliefs and that church's right to have those beliefs within their religious doctrine.”

“It's wrong that the churches got as engaged as they did, that doesn't mean the churches don't have a right to believe whatever they believe, but their behavior was wrong.”

Gay activists, however, appear reluctant to forget about the meddling and overwhelming financial support by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), which they say tipped approval of the gay marriage ban in California.

Gay activist Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate, filed a complaint this week with the California Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) alleging numerous contribution violations to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California by the Mormon Church.

The complaint claims that the Mormon Church violated California's Political Reform Act when it failed to report massive non-monetary contributions to the Yes-On-8 campaign.

Among the violations cited are the costs of get-out-the-vote phone banks in Utah and Idaho, various mailings to voters, transportation services, marketing materials – professionally produced commercials hosted on websites available to the public included – and at least two satellite broadcasts over five western states.

And in the Mormon home state of Utah, gay activists announced plans on Monday to call on Mormon leaders to back planned civil rights legislation for gays and lesbians in the state.

Openly gay Utah Senator Scott McCoy and Representative Christine Johnson announced they will introduce five legislative bills in January that closely straddle the pro-gay positions expressed by the church during the June-to-November Prop 8 campaign. Three bills would bring greater equality to gays and lesbians in the areas of hospitalization, medical care, housing, employment and probate rights.

And a pair of bills would create a domestic partner registry for gay and lesbian couples by repealing a part of Utah's constitutional marriage amendment. The group said they had no plans to pursue gay marriage, which Mormon leaders say they cannot abide.

Supporters of the plan called on the Mormon Church's blessing, saying it would “bridge the divide between the gay community and the LDS community.” They asked that the church help secure passage of these rights for gay Utahans with the same commitment and energy used in supporting the gay marriage ban in California.

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