Progress stalled but not stopped

Tomorrow, Washington, D.C.’s City Council is expected to pass legislation that will legalize same-sex marriage. The mayor has promised to sign the bill and it looks like Congress will leave it be. By the new year, lesbians and gays will be able to marry in the nation’s capital.

Unfortunately, it will be some time before other jurisdictions will – either through legislatures much less referenda – grant marriage equality to its citizens. The defeat in Maine; the weakening of the Democratic Party; the push back from conservative forces; the gnawing anxiety among the masses; and the fear of loss in the approaching midterm elections among politicians has vanquished any resolve they may have had. I can not see how anyone can remain optimistic about prospects in New Jersey and New York. Corzine’s loss put the brakes on equality’s progress in the Garden State while ossified political dysfunction hinders any movement in the neighboring Empire State.

This means that those of us who support and fight for equality have to accept the fact that it will take longer than many of us had hoped for and that it will be an uphill battle. A rather steep hill at that. But, so is it a fact that history and progress are on our side. So tomorrow, let us celebrate cautiously. Then more confidently when the 30 days have passed during which Congress may intervene.

We will celebrate one state at a time, one court case after another. This will be how it is until we have finally prevailed.

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