LGBT Rights Move Apace

Glenn GreenwaldAlthough the result was expected on a rational level, today’s ruling is still viscerally shocking for any LGBT citizen who grew up in the US, or their family members and close friends. It’s almost hard to believe that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Just consider how embedded, pervasive and recent anti-gay sentiment has been in the fabric of American life…

It’s breathtaking to consider the amount of courage and human suffering that led to today’s decision. In the late 1940s, Harry Hay created the Mattachine Society, which combined highly progressive politics with a campaign for gay rights in an indescribably hostile and oppressive climate. The Stonewall Riot of 1968, driven by outrage over endless police harassment, was led by the most marginalized members of the community, and sparked the modern LGBT movement. In the late 1980s and 1990s, ACT UP — driven primarily by sick gay men and their lesbian allies — pioneered political activism with a union of defiance, dissent, and shrewd expertise and strategizing that unquestionably saved countless lives around the world and emboldened an entire generation of gay people (passively attending ACT UP meetings at Cooper Union during my law schools years was incredibly formative).

The experience of being gay in the US has long been one of intense stigma, condemnation and exclusion; for many, it was worse than that. The tragically conclusive empirical data on the highly disproportionate suicide rates for gay adolescents, by itself, tells much of that story. To witness the arrival of full-scale legal equality is something many never expected to see in their lifetime, and now that it has happened, still seems surreal.

—Glenn Greenwald
Today’s Court Ruling, Though Expected, is Still Shocking – Especially for Those Who Grew Up LGBT in the US

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