The court hasn't yet announced its intentions. If it doesn't take Hollingsworth, then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' February ruling, declaring Prop. 8 unconstitutional, will stand — and same-sex couples can marry in California again. Such a ruling would only affect states where gays and lesbians could legally marry and then had the right taken away, and there aren't many.

Other wonks believe the Supreme Court is waiting until all the DOMA cases are ready — and some won't be until later this fall — before taking them at the same time. A judgment could then affect marriage nationwide. An Oct. 2 piece in the New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin suggested the justices may also wait to see how the four marriage initiatives on ballots in November play out, which would provide a snapshot of which way the national wind is blowing. There's a precedent here: The Supreme Court didn't end bans on interracial marriage until 1967, and on homosexual sex until 2003, until after a majority of the populace had accepted them.

When President Barack Obama backed the issue in May, many proponents felt it was long overdue. For the first time, marriage equality is part of the Democratic Party's 2012 campaign platform. First Lady Michelle Obama told Democratic National Convention audiences, "If proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love, then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American dream."

Hank Donat (left) and Jeffrey Halpern, married in 2008, 
found themselves on the front 
page of the New York Times.
Norma Cordova
Hank Donat (left) and Jeffrey Halpern, married in 2008, found themselves on the front page of the New York Times.
Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis got married in 2004, and then helped shape the current movement when their marriage license was revoked a month later.
Norma Cordova
Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis got married in 2004, and then helped shape the current movement when their marriage license was revoked a month later.

Most of the DNC's speakers mentioned marriage equality in their own way. "You knew what they were talking about and it was enough," says Prozan, who has attended the past two conventions. That, combined with Obama's repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, no longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act, and support of same-sex marriage, boosted the tone of LGBT support in Charlotte, N.C.

While drawing clear lines on LGBT issues helps Obama distinguish himself from Republican candidate Mitt Romney, it's still a risky move if he wants to capture votes and delegates come November. "It's safe in San Francisco, but it's still a very divisive issue, and will continue to be until we can change the hearts and minds," Prozan says.

Gay-rights organizers agree that marriage remains an uphill battle. Equality California hoped to put ballot measures before voters in 2010 and 2012 to overturn Prop. 8, but current polls and donation levels aren't enough to ensure a slam-dunk, Davidson says. Another vote against same-sex marriage could set the movement back years, politically, culturally, and financially.

Recent public-opinion polls have led many, both in and outside the gay community, to say that legal same-sex marriage nationwide is only a matter of time. To those who have been fighting nonstop since 2004 or even longer, that's a welcome thought. For one thing, it means they can stop fighting so hard — and get back to the business of being married.

"I'm busy. My husband's coming home. This wash has to be done," Donat says. "But I have to put it down, because I have to fight. And we've been fighting for a long time."

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1 comments
psychosupermom
psychosupermom

I am a fervent supporter of marriage equality - I was the 'best man' for my dearest friend when he married his husband, once in a 'commitment ceremony' and once at City Hall when it was legal, and they are the most committed, loving couple I know, and I"m proud that they are the godparents for my teenage sons.  Moreover, like all good Jewish mothers, I secretly hope one of my sons turns out to be gay (because he'll never replace me with another woman, and he'll help me shop!)  So the stakes in this election are high (particularly since as a woman, a Jew, and an advocate of marriage equality, I feel triply dissed by the right . . . , which is why I recorded, "It's A Scary Time To Be A Jewish Mother", the first in my series of youTube political comedy songs . . .  enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H0-r07_y3

 

 

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