In 2002, I was living in Chicago, writing about gay issues — and convinced that the America would never get marriage equality. I thought we’d need to settle for civil unions.
Ten years later, I’m living in New York City, writing about gay issues — and about to get legally married to my fiancée in May.
We’ve come a long way in a very short amount of time.
It doesn’t always feel like that, of course. The battle over Prop 8 seems like it has lasted several lifetimes, though in reality, California only voted for the marriage ban four years ago. But the fact is, on the issues that matter, from marriage equality, to changing cultural norms around bullying, to hate crime laws, to military service – we are winning.
And as time goes on, our wins get closer and closer together.
This President’s views on marriage equality may still be “evolving,” but it’s almost a guarantee that the next Democratic President will come out for gay marriage early and proudly. As it is, there’s building pressure to include a call for marriage equality in the 2012 Democratic Party platform. We can only cross our fingers that the U.S. Supreme Court, when it takes its first marriage case (which will be soon), will see the momentum and will not hold it back.
In 10 years, we have gone from no states having gay marriage to eight states where it is legal (as long as voters don’t rise against it in Washington and Maryland in November). We have gone from a military where soldiers needed to avoid pronouns when talking about their significant others to a military where a gay sailor can greet his partner with a kiss as soon as he steps off the gangway. And we have gone from a culture that stepped on gay children to one that is struggling to learn to support them and protect them from bullying.
We are winning and we will continue to win. I can’t wait to see our progress over the next 10 years.
In the meanwhile, here’s a timeline of some of the highlights of the past 10 years in gay and lesbian politics.
What changes in the political landscape have meant the most to you over the last 10 years?