While we wait for the Supreme Court to hand down its decision on the issue of same-sex marriage, conservatives continue to warn of the pending destruction of the American family, and new supporters are coming out of the closet everywhere. But it’s important for those of us who have been on the front lines of this civil rights battle to remind everyone else that the road has been a long and treacherous one. The battles have been many and the victories few and far between as LGBT citizens have demanded full equality under the law when it comes to marriage and family.
In truth, the struggle for marriage equality began the same day that the modern gay rights movement began decades ago, because the two go hand-in-hand.
- We didn’t know we were fighting for marriage in the 60s. We were just fighting to be recognized and to come out into the open.
- We didn’t know we were fighting for marriage in the 70s. We were just fighting for housing and employment fairness.
- We didn’t know we were fighting for marriage in the 80s. We were just fighting to stay alive against a deadly virus that our government was willing to ignore as long as it was only killing homosexuals.
- We didn’t know we were fighting for marriage in the 90s. We were just fighting against persecution from the Religious Right, the morality police, ignorant politicians, and a rash of hate crimes that took innocent young people like Matthew Shepherd.
By the time we reached the millennium, we knew what we were fighting for all that time, and what fight now lay ahead of us: full equality. For the past decade, we have fought discrimination in the military, government service, the workplace, health care, in sports, and in our neighborhoods. We overturned DADT and now we will overturn DOMA, Prop. 8, and any other discriminatory effort that stands between us and full equality.
Take a look at this chronology of the modern gay marriage fight (click HERE to open in a new window for the full interactive version):