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Ballot wording change OK'd in California marriage battle
California Attorney General Jerry Brown's rewording of the title and summary of the ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to re-ban same-sex marriage got a green light from Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on August 8.

The measure originally was titled: "Limit on marriage. Constitutional amendment." And it was summarized, "Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

But afterward, the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, and weddings began on June 16.

Brown then retitled the measure: "Proposition 8. Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry. Initiative constitutional amendment." And he summarized it: "Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments."

Opponents of same-sex marriage filed suit over the changes, saying they were neither fair nor impartial.

The court, however, disagreed, finding that "the Attorney General did not abuse his discretion in concluding that the chief purpose and effect of the initiative is to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry."

"The Attorney General's title is an accurate statement of the primary purpose and effect of the measure," Frawley ruled. "It is not argumentative or inherently prejudicial."

Opponents of the proposed amendment cheered the ruling, while proponents denounced it and filed an appeal. Both agreed the new language will make the measure more likely to fail on November 4.

Neil Patrick Harris wants to represent "normal" Gays
Openly Gay actor Neil Patrick Harris from TV's How I Met Your Mother tells Out magazine in its September issue that he wants to be a role model for normal Gay people.

"I'm striving to be an example of normalcy," Harris said. "Because I'm noticed as an actor, people are aware of what's happening in my life. ... I'm a big proponent of monogamous relationships regardless of sexuality, and I'm proud of how the nation is steering toward that. Then you can look around and say, 'I really deeply feel like I'm in love with this person, there are people who feel the same thing, and those models are normal.' The 'normal' couples were sort of in the shadows for the past 15 or 20 years because you sort of needed other people to come forward and speak out."

In a more lighthearted moment, Harris told Out he thinks CNN anchorman Anderson Cooper is dreamy and is not a candidate for outing.

"He's dreamy. Just dreamy," Harris said. "I've been a fan of his since season one of The Mole. I just thought he was so cool when he talked in this cool, low, secret-agent voice - 'If you can accomplish this task...'"

Harris continued: "Listen, no one can tell anyone how big their steps should be or when they can take them. You can take issue with someone making overtly denying statements, and you can take issue with people straight-up presenting themselves as someone that they're not - because I think that's kind of shady and not very stand-up. But you can't fault someone for going through the process at their own time."

In May 2007, Out put two models on its cover holding pictures of Cooper and Jodie Foster in front of their faces above the words, "The Glass Closet: Why the Stars Won't Come Out and Play."

Minter: California ruling changed more than marriage law
The California Supreme Court's May ruling legalizing same-sex marriage did much more than that, says Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and lead lawyer for the successful Gay side in the California marriage case.

In an August 2 interview with Los Angeles journalist Karen Ocamb, Minter said: "The fundamental-right-to-marry part of the holding was extremely significant, but the court's holding that sexual orientation is a suspect classification was stunning - completely unprecedented. I think it will forever change the legal landscape for LGBT people in the country; it's going to have a huge impact on courts in other states and, ultimately, on the federal courts. We are now living in a different legal world because of what the court did."

The court's determination means that any discrimination based on sexual orientation is constitutionally subject to the strictest level of scrutiny by California courts, which makes it dramatically harder for any level of government to defend itself in any arena where Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals are not treated the same as heterosexuals.

A government now has to prove it has a specific "compelling interest" - rather than a mere "rational basis" - when it treats GLB people differently in any way.

In another interview, with the Palm Springs Gay magazine The BottomLine on August 1, Minter said that if the California ballot measure to amend the state constitution to re-ban same-sex marriage fails in November, it will be a "crushing defeat" for Gays' opponents.

"If we defeat this proposition, as I believe we will, that victory will resonate across the country," he said. "Not only will marriage in California be secure, but we will have demonstrated that efforts to politically exploit anti-Gay bias no longer work. We have a chance here in California to deal a crushing defeat to the anti-Gay forces that have caused incalculable damage to our community for years.

This is our opportunity to make a difference that will go down in history books as a critical turning point."

Minter also talked with The BottomLine about his 1996 sex-change operation.

"I have been struck by how much more immediate 'unearned' credibility and respect I get as a completely average-looking man than I did as a visibly masculine-appearing woman," Minter said. "The difference is stark - whether it is service in a restaurant or on a plane, or appearing in court."



Cyndi Lauper: I had to come out as straight
Pop singer Cyndi Lauper told The Times of London on August 2 that she had to come out as straight.

"My sister was Gay, my best friends were Gay, so I figured I had to be Gay," she said. "So I did everything they did. I tried kissing girls. But it didn't feel right for me, and eventually I was forced to come out as a heterosexual."

Lauper also launched a broadside against George W. Bush.

"When I hear people like George Bush talk about the Gay community being anti-American, it makes my blood boil," she said.

"The guy who saved the White House, one of the heroes who crashed that plane on 9/11, was Gay - the rugby player Mark Bingham, who died on United 93. And does Bush ever mention that? ... That Gay guy saved his lousy ass."

With assistance from Bill Kelley

pictures: top Neil Patrick Harris
bottom: Bob Lehman, Out: Cooper/Foster cover
 

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