I think most of my gay brothers and sisters are still pinching themselves, expecting to wake up any moment to realize that it was all just a dream and we are still living in the old world where sometimes the closet was the best place to hide for many.
I do not think any LGBT member believed that public opinion would change so swiftly toward gay people in general and especially gay marriage. I tend to give Barack Obama credit for much of it but I think there is more to it than just the repeal of DODT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) or his open acceptance of gay marriage, as many others were way ahead of him when it came to that specific issue, including his own vice president, Joe Biden.
The sea change I think came from the fact that some states were allowing same-sex marriage or its equivalent and it affected straight people’s lives with a big –zilch, zero, nada, nothing changed, life went on as always. All of the fear mongering concerning same-sex marriage had proven to be wrong.
Then of course, more gay people have surely come out of the closet than they ever have been and most people have a family member or at least know someone who is openly gay.
There will still always be religious people who cannot accept under any circumstances gay marriage. Religious people should at least find a way to accept that gay people should have the same rights as they themselves do. The concern of many, especially pastors, rabbis, clerics and other religious leaders, is that they will someday be forced to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. That is not going to happen because it would violate their right to religious freedom. As far as gay people, I think we would prefer to be married by someone who does not disapprove of our marriage. I have known pastors who refused to marry someone because at least one of them was divorced or even because the couple was an interracial couple. I do not see why refusing to marry a gay couple would be any different.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be taking up the issue late this month and surprisingly, dozens of Republicans have filed a Friend of the Court brief with the court in favor of gay marriage. It is actions like that which brings me to tears, to see so many people, even from both sides of the aisle come out in favor of same-sex marriage.
It would seem that this is not just a sea change but also a tsunami. If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to strike down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which is becoming much more likely though no sure deal, it would surely push the issue over the edge as far as equal rights for gay people. What would be left are state governments, which have laws or constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. I would think after a ruling from the highest court, specifically affirming that DOMA is unconstitutional, that state laws banning gay marriage would become invalid.
The time for equality for gays and lesbians most assuredly is here, so let us seize this moment with enough momentum to bring gay rights to full fruition. From Stonewall to the repeal of DOMA, we have walked through a deep valley and over a steep mountain, but we are almost there and our weary road we traveled on to get here, is almost to an end. America is moving forward.