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Queer Town: The Fat is in the Fire

The court has not only ignored the will of the people and imposed a redefinition of marriage on Californians, it has inflicted years of legal chaos, quite possibly on the entire country.

Glen Lavy, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, in the New York Times

These are not happy days for scared people like Glen Lavy, and yesterday was probably one of his worst. Rather than delay last month's landmark ruling on same sex marriage until after Election Day as Lavy requested, the California State Supreme Court decided a rehearing on the matter was unnecessary. The gays, four out of the seven supreme court justices ultimately said, could finally get married, starting on June 17.

Nearly twelve hours later, on a cool Wednesday evening, Jay Leno dropped by the Abbey--the always jammed West Hollywood gay bar--for a half hour while slim-waisted waiters in brown tank tops served martinis to guests at a "commitment to protect our rights" ceremony. At least that's what the press release called it.

The event was also a Gay Pride Week kick off party, a fund raiser of sorts for the Matthew Shepard Foundation sponsored by jewelry designer Udi Behr and hosted by Abbey owner David Cooley, and the place to be seen if you're gay and famous: TR Knight showed up with his boyfriend, Bruce Vilanch came with his curly blonde hair, and Reichen Lehmkuhl made an appearance with a glowing tan. Darryl Stephens, Jai Rodriguez, and Dan Pintauro also mixed with the crowd.

But it was far from some kind of crude photo op. As I sat in a leather chair in the VIP room and watched everyone pose for a horde of photographers, it hit me that something very different was going down--a whole bunch of young gay men in Hollywood were very publicly out of the closet. Only a few years ago, such a scene would have been off-limits for any and all male actors in this town.

I later mentioned this to an In Touch magazine writer named Alex. He looked around, smiled, and said, "Yeah, it's nice." Then he moved the conversation back to gay marriage.

"I just don't understand why some people think two guys getting married is somehow going to affect them," he said. "It doesn't make any sense."

"I have a feeling a lot of voters are going to think the same thing," I told him, "and they'll vote against the ballot measure."

"I hope so," Alex said. "I would be very proud of Californians if they shot that thing down."

I nodded, and thought about Glen Lavy. Only four years ago, he was probably certain the gays were on the run with nowhere to go. Now, he probably thinks all of his best laid plans are very much in danger of complete destruction. "Legal chaos" is how he termed it. For millions of other people, it's called hard won justice. The fat is in the fire, which, in this case, isn't a bad thing at all.

Tips? Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.