Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nate Silver: Gay Marriage Opponents Now In Minority

Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight is saying today what many of us have been saying for a few months now: that those who oppose marriage equality are in the minority.

A slew of new polls throughout the past couple months - including one released by CNN just yesterday - have shown that more Americans support than oppose gay marriage.  According to his regression smoothing, around 50% of Americans now support gay marriage, while only 46% oppose.

Anti-equality activists who say Americans don't support gay marriage, then, are no longer telling the truth: a plurality of Americans - and soon a majority as well - support marriage for both gay and straight couples.

Silver added what I believe are some very astute remarks on why these improving numbers will not necessarily translate to positive election results in the very near future:

...the people who turn out to vote are considerably older than the population as a whole, so gay marriage will not perform quite as well at the ballot booth as in surveys of the general population. In addition, whenever a position is gaining ground, its newly won support is often tentative and can be peeled away by an effective counter-campaign.

However, Silver also mentioned that Republicans will find it difficult to use gay marriage as a wedge issue in the coming years:

But Republican candidates, who have placed less emphasis on gay marriage in recent years, probably cannot expect their opposition to it to be a net electoral positive for them except in select circumstances. If support for gay marriage were to continue accelerating as fast as it has in the past two years, supporters would outnumber opponents roughly 56-40 in the general population by November 2012.

Past trends, of course, are no guarantee of future ones, and it’s always possible that the momentum toward increasing support for gay marriage could flatten out or even reverse itself.

But this does put Republicans in a tricky position. Their traditional position on gay marriage is becoming less popular. But to the extent they disengage from the issue, they may lose even more ground. One way to read the trends of the past few years is that we have passed an inflection point wherein it is no longer politically advantageous for candidates to oppose same-sex marriage, which in turn softens opposition to it among the general public, creating a sort of feedback loop and accelerating the trend.

This article is very encouraging: many of us have been saying for a while now that polls are proving our point - that opposition to marriage equality is ever-dwindling - and it seems that Silver, who knows a heck of a lot more about polling than I do, agrees.

Take the Justifiable Anger Readership Survey!

As I approach the end of my seventh month of blogging here at the new Justifiable Anger, I find myself wondering what my readers think about my blog: what they like, what they dislike, what they would like to see more or less of, etc.  I am also a bit curious as to who my readers are: what the average age is, how they identify within the LGBT-straight spectrum, how they know me (if they know me), what other LGBT sites they go to, etc.

Thus, I am announcing the first Justifiable Anger Readership Survey

By taking this 12-question survey, you'll help me answer all of the questions I listed above, and then some.  In reading these answers, I'll determine how I can improve my website.  Should I have guest columnists?  More polls?  Fewer movie reviews?  Less breaking news and more analysis?  This is your chance to weigh in on Justifiable Anger and help shape the path my website will take in the coming months.

All responses are 100% anonymous, so please feel free to answer honestly.

There's no due date, but the sooner I get a large volume of responses, the sooner I can begin improving my site - making the experience better for you.  I want my readers to enjoy their time here (let's face it, blogging is no fun if nobody's reading your work), so this survey will help me help you get more out of JA.

Click here to take the Justifiable Anger Readership Survey.

Thanks!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CNN Says 51% Support Gay Marriage - But Is That Number Actually Higher?

For the first time, a CNN poll shows that a majority of Americans support equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples: 51% say "marriages between gay and lesbian couples should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages," while 47% disagree.

Two years ago, those numbers were virtually reversed, as 44% supported marriage equality and 54% opposed.

The demographic breakdown is interesting, if not unexpected: 57% of women support, while only 45% of men do.; both white (52%) and non-white (51%) people support; 59% of people who attended college support, while only 42% of people who did not attend college do; 64% of Democrats, 55% of Independents, and only 27% of Republicans support.

But here's where it gets particularly interesting: the poll shows that 60% of people aged 35-49 support gay marriage, while only 40% of people over 50 support it.  But under the 18-34 age bracket, it simply says N/A.

Most likely, this means that there were not enough respondents aged 18-34 to segregate them for the purposes of the demographic breakdown - meaning there were fewer of them than respondents of other age groups.  This wouldn't matter if people 18-34 had similar opinions on the issue, but that's not the case: younger people have been proven to be more liberal than their older counterparts, and this is certainly true when it comes to gay marirage.

Add in the fact that the poll utilized telephone polling (which, as I've written before, can lead to sampling that underrepresents young voters due to disproportionate cellphone usage in that age group), and it's very possible that the 18-34 age group - the age group most supportive of marriage equality- is severely underrepresented in this poll.

If CNN's gay marriage poll underrepresented the younger generation - our generation - then support for gay marriage is actually higher than this poll shows.  CNN's poll - which shows narrow majority support for gay marriage - is actually skewed towards the older, more conservative generation by excluding a representative amount of younger people.

Support for marriage equality, then, is in all likelihood higher than 51%.

Hawaii Passes Employment Non-Discrimination Law for Transgender Hawaiians

The Hawaii House voted 45-4 yesterday to concur with the Hawaii Senate on HB 546 SD1, a bill prohobiting employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

The bill now goes to Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), who has said he will sign the bill into law.

Transgender people in Hawaii are already protected against discrimination in housing and public accommodations.  Employment protection already exists for gay Hawaiians.

Hawaii becomes the 13th state (not including the District of Columbia) to codify protections for transgender people in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

We're seeing a lot of encouraging progress from Hawaii, which earlier this year passed a civil unions bill.  And no wonder: the state legislature is overwhelmingly Democrat, with a 24-1 majority in the State Senate and a 43-8 majority in the State House.

Elections matter, folks.  If you want LGBT-friendly legislation to pass, you need to vote every single year for the candidates who support equality on the local, state, and federal level.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Delaware House Passes Civil Unions Bill

The Delaware state House has passed a Civil Unions bill, 26-15.  As the Delaware state Senate has already passed the bill, it now goes to the Governor's desk; Gov. Jack Markell (D) has said he will sign it.

The new law will allow gay couples - but not straight couples - to enter into civil unions and receive the same rights under state law that straight couples receive, although they still are not "married" and do not qualify for any federal benefits.

Civil unions are not marriage, and therefore this is not a full equality bill.  However, this is a giant step in the right direction for Delaware.

Uniting American Families Act Introduced in US Congress

The Uniting American Families Act is being introduced today in the House and Senate.

In the House, UAFA will be introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif) in a press conference this afternoon.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will introduce the legislation in the Senate.

UAFA would allow gay and lesbian American citizens to sponsor their permanent partners for legal residency in the United States, a right currently enjoyed only by married straight couples. 

It would accomplish this by amending the Immigration and Nationality Act to to permit permanent partners of US citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents.

They key is that "spouse" becomes "permanent partner," thus allowing gay couples - whose marriages or partnerships are not recognized under federal law - to sponsor one another for legal residency.

ENDA Introduced in US Senate

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been re-introduced to the United States Senate.  This bill is fully-inclusive, including employment protections for all LGBT people.

The bill's main sponsors include Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) & Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). 

With two Republicans already supporting the bill as lead sponsors, including Kirk (who is new to the Senate since ENDA was introduced last Congress), it is very possible that ENDA could pass the Senate.  Keep in mind that the last time gay rights came up for a full Senate vote, 8 Republicans voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" - which was about 1/5 of their entire caucus last year.

ENDA is part of the Human Rights Campaign's Economic Empowerment Agenda.

"For LGBT job seekers, the challenges of the economic downturn are coupled with the real risk that a potential employer could turn you away because you casually mention your same-sex partner in an interview, or checking your references reveals that you have changed your gender," writes HRC.  "For those LGBT people lucky enough to have jobs, the fear of discrimination can mean constant self-censoring, hiding part of yourself, and your family, from colleagues and supervisors."

Currently, gay people can be legally fired in 29 states, and transgender people can legally be fired in 38 states, just because of who they are.  ENDA is an extremely importrant piece of legislation: while we may not be able to get it passed in the Republican-controlled House, we should put serious lobbying efforts into passing ENDA in the Senate and sending a message across this country that LGBT people deserve the right to live and work freely.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

President Obama Speaks at GWU

President Obama addresses the George Washington University
on the budget and the deficit.

This afternoon, I had the incredible opportunity to go see President Obama give a speech in the Jack Morton auditorium here at the George Washington University.

His speech, titled "Winning the Future," focused on the budget and deficit.  Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Rep. Paul Ryan, and other prominent officials in the budget battle were in attendance.

Obama blasted the GOP budget plan, shaped heavily by Ryan, as painting a "pessimistic" picture of America, a picture that "the greatest country in the world cannot afford" clean energy, care for the elderly, road repair, and education reform.

In particular, Obama condemned Ryan's plan to replace our current Medicare system - which he agreed needs reform - with a voucher program that, according to Obama, would result in the elderly paying $6,000+ more on their healthcare.

Obama outlined his own budget proposals, which included a $4 trillion reduction in the deficit over 15 years, cuts in all areas of government including defense and entitlement spending, and eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy.  "I don't need another tax cut," he said, "Warren Buffett doesn't need another tax cut."  Obama said he would not sign another bill that extended tax cuts for the wealthy.

Here are some pictures from Obama's speech at GWU:

Rep. Paul Ryan arrives at GWU for President Obama's speech
on the budget.


Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Vice President Joe Biden
were in attendence for Obama's budget address.


President Obama addresses the George Washington
University on the budget and the deficit.

Friday, April 08, 2011

What Republicans Are Really Fighting

As we draw nearer and nearer to a government shutdown, Republicans are making it quite clear that the only thing stopping them from striking a deal with President Obama and Congressional Democrats is Planned Parenthood, which they say they are fighting because Planned Parenthood provides abortion services.

In fact, they are making it seem as though Planned Parenthood is exclusively an abortion clinic, like that is all they do.  Well look at this graph and tell me if you think Planned Parenthood exclusively provides abortion services:

These are the services that Planned Parenthood really provides; these are the things that Republicans are trying to cut.  STD testing.  Contraception.  Cancer screening and prevention.  Women's health services.  That is what Planned Parenthood is about.  Abortion services, as you can see, account for only 3% of the services provided by Planned Parenthood yearly.

The GOP assault on Planned Parenthood, then, is an assault on women; it is an assault on a woman's right to her health and well-being.  This has nothing to do with abortion; don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

The women of the Senate Democrat caucus are standing up for women everywhere.  In a press conference today, these senators spoke out against Republicans' attacks on Planned Parenthood and on women, and against the lies that are fueling these attacks.  Sen. Barbara Mikulski's (D-Md.) tour de force at the end of the video is particularly powerful.  Check it out below:



Louis J. Marinelli, Creator of NOM's "Summer for Marriage" Tour, Supports Marriage Equality

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this headline posted on a friend's Facebook feed.  Louis J. Marinelli, who with the National Organization for Marriage created to "Summer for Marriage" tour - which went from city to city protesting against marriage equality - has decided that he actually supports full marriage equality:

Having spent the last five years putting all of my political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease, I must admit that it is hard for me to put the following text into words let alone utter them with my own voice.

Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

Marinelli writes about how, during the "Summer for Marriage" tour, he met LGBT people who just wanted to be treated equally and be able to live their own lives the way they wanted to; later, when looking at his own Facebook page, he realized how hateful the people who were against marriage equality were.  I've been to his Facebook page (I've also been banned from his Facebook page), and I can tell you that there are, in fact, some incredibly hateful individuals trolling that page - and I was banned simply for saying I disagree with them, and that being gay is not a choice.

Marinelli has since reformed his Facebook page, came out in support of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and now supports civil marriage for gay couples (he makes the distinction between civil and holy matrimony, and I agree with him when he says that churches should be allowed to decide whether they want to marry gay couples, but not the government).  He strongly concludes:

My name is Louis J. Marinelli, a conservative-Republican and I now support full civil marriage equality. The constitution calls for nothing less.

We often talk about how people who know someone who is gay are more likely to support gay rights.  Marinelli's change of heart perfectly exemplifies that concept: in meeting the gay people he has spent so much of his life trying to oppress, he was finally able to open his eyes and see that we are people, and that we do deserve to be equal.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Delaware Senate Passes Civil Unions

The Delaware state Senate has passed a bill that would allow gay couples to enter into civil unions by a vote of 13-6.

The law would allow gay couples - but not straight couples - to receive the same rights under state law that straight couples receive, although they still are not "married" and do not qualify for any federal benefits.

The legislation now goes onto the Delaware state House, where it is expected to pass; it would then go to Governor Jack Markell for his signature.

Although civil unions are not marriage, and are therefore not equal, I strongly endorse civil unions in the state of Delaware as a stepping stone to full equality in the institution of marriage.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rep. Barney Frank Re-Introduces ENDA

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) has reintroduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The bill currently has 111 cosponsors; some are making bones of the fact that there are 92 fewer cosponsors than in the 111th Congress, but considering the fact that Democrats lost 63 seats in the Republican Wave of 2010, this is not terribly surprising.
And as Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Rights, tells Metro Weekly:

"We know we lost more than 40 of our co-sponsors to the election, so this isn't especially disturbing that not everyone is signed on as co-sponsors yet," she said. "It's not like today was some sort of a deadline. There will be more in the next couple of days. If you look through the list, you're going to find some obvious people who want to be and will be co-sponsors and just haven't gotten around to it yet."
Frank calls the reintroduction an "organizing tool," and when I spoke with Keisling a few days ago she confirmed that introducing the bill is the best way to ensure that lobbyists can meet with the various members of Congress to talk to them about the bill; our representatives are a bit busy to meet with lobbyists about a bill that hasn't even been introduced.

While ENDA is obviously not going to pass under Republican Congressional leadership, we have the next 1.5 years to reach a critical mass of incumbents who support the bill.  If we do the lobbying and educational work now, it will make passing ENDA that much easier when we have a favorable political climate.  Let's start a strong push for ENDA today, so that when we have a pro-equality majority tomorrow, we'll be ahead of schedule.

Why don't you take a moment to call your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor this very important legislation - or thank them if they already do.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Connecticut House Committee Passes Gender Identity Protections Bill

The Connecticut state House Judiciary Committee has passed HB 6599, "An Act Concerning Discrimination," 27 to 14 without amendments.

HB 5699, if passed, will protect Connecticut's transgender community from discrimination in employment, education, housing, public accommodations and credit.

If you live in Connecticut, please contact your state representative and tell him or her to support HB 6599 so that our transgender friends, family members, and neighbors may live and work with dignity and respect.  This bill will level the playing field, and it must pass.  I already contacted my state representative, and I could not be happier to hear that he supports this important bill.  Please take a moment right now and do the same, so that we can make sure this bill passes when it comes up for a full vote.

 Click here to find out who your state legislator is.

DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz: "Dems Will Be Back"

In an address to the George Washington University College Democrats, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was just named the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, told a full house that "Democrats will be back."

The 18-year Congresswoman, herself a former vice president of the College Democrats in Florida, emphasized throughout her speech the importance of getting students and other young people involved in the campaign.

"We need college students in the trenches to keep Obama in the White House, take back the House, and keep a majority in the Senate," she said.  "You are the future of our party."

Wasserman Schultz outlined the platform for Democrats going into the 2012 election: to highlight the stark differences between Democrats and Republicans.

"Elections have consequences, and we need to articulate the differences between Democrats fighting for the middle class, and Republicans fighting for the elite and the super wealthy," she said.

Wasserman Schultz mentioned, among other accomplishments Democrats will run on in 2012, debt relief for students, affordable health care, and progress in social issues, including the Lily Ledbetter Act and repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Of DADT repeal, Wasserman Schultz said that it "strengthens our armed forces and ensures that any American brave enough to serve their country can do so."

Wasserman Schultz expressed confidence that, by communicating clearly to the American people the many accomplishments of the Obama administration and by "highlighting Republican hypocrisy," Obama can win reelection and Democrats will make gains in both chambers.

"Rest assured that Democrats will be back," she said.

And the one-liner of the night?  To a question on labor union protests in Wisconsin: "I think Governor Walker deserves the Organizer of the Year award."

Wal-Mart Right to Fire Anti-Gay Worker

There is a big difference between having a religious belief, and using it to harrass a co-worker.  That difference took center stage in a lawsuit between Wal-Mart and Tanisha Matthews, an overnight stocker who was fired after telling a co-worker that she was going to Hell for being a lesbian.  Matthews sued Wal-Mart because she believed that she was fired for being an Apostolic Christian.

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found, as a lower court had, in Wal-Mart's favor, saying that the store has a fair non-harrassment policy which allows the company to discipline belligerent employees as it sees fit.

"Wal-Mart fired her because she violated company policy when she harassed a co-worker, not because of her beliefs, and employers need not relieve workers from complying with neutral workplace rules as a religious accommodation if it would create an undue hardship," wrote the court in its ruling.

Wal-Mart and the courts were right.  Discrimination should not be accepted in any form, whether it is based on religion, sexuality, gender, race, or any other personal characteristic.  But this is not a case of discrimination.  Matthews violated company policy when she verbally assaulted one of her co-workers and attacked her based on her sexuality.  Having religious views is one thing, but using those views to personally attack others is an entirely different thing.
This is one court ruling that should be celebrated.

Ireland Begins Performing Civil Partnerships

Courtesy of the Center for American Progress, Ireland has started granting civil partnerships to gay couples today.  These partnerships are not full marriage, and thus they do not grant full marriage rights to gay couples.  From the Irish Times, which interviewed Barry Dignam, who is among the first gay couples to receive a civil partnership today:
“This change is a pretty sizeable change although it is a pity it’s not full marriage,” he said, adding that there are those in the gay community who believe strongly that civil partnership does not go far enough.

“They are right as well. Anything which is not equality is not equal,” he said, but added that he does not believe, like some, that civil partnership should be boycotted and would see himself as an incrementalist.
While I do not consider myself an "incrementalist" - for I do not believe that allowing civil unions before full marriage rights is somehow better than just allowing full marriage rights - I do agree with Bignam in his sentiment that we shouldn't let perfect be the enemy of the good.  With 61% of Irish citizens supporting marriage equality, it is obviously only a matter of time before Ireland takes that step.  So while it is unfortunate that gay couples in Ireland still do not get to enjoy marriage just as their straight peers do, we celebrate that Ireland has taken a first, large step towards equality.

Gender Identity Bill Resurrected in Maryland State Senate

After being presumed dead in the state Senate Rules Committee, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act has been sent out of the Rules Committee and back into the Judicial Proceedings Committee.  This follows a letter sent by the seven members of the Maryland state Senate's LGBT caucus earlier today to Senate President Thomas Miller, which asked him to bring the bill, HB 235, back to life.

The Maryland state House has already passed this bill, so if the state Senate passes it, all that will be left is for Governor Martin O'Malley (D) to sign it.

The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act would protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, and credit.  Public accomodations protections are not included in this bill.

I have written before on the importance of passing anti-discrimination measures for transgender people.  Transgender people are among the most discriminated against and harrassed in the country, and transgender people in Maryland need this legislation to protect them and level the playing field.  While it is not a perfect bill, it will still help transgender people who are facing the threat of being fired, kicked out of their homes, or denied a loan, just for being who they are.

I strongly encourage all Maryland state senators to vote for this bill.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Importance of Coalition-Building, Part II

I've written before on the importance of coalition-building, of building bridges between the LGBT community and other minority groups (including, but not limited to, racial minorities, women, religious minorities, the disabled, etc.). 

We must do this out of necessity: the LGBT community makes up less than 10% of our country's population, so if we want to have a strong presence in our politcal system, we need to band together with other minorities. 

We must also do this because it is the right thing to do: if we expect other groups to support our rights, we must support theirs as well; people of minority status share in a common experience - that of being tyrannized by the majority - and it is up to all of us to ensure that no matter who you are, you are treated equally under the law and with respect by society.

This year's protests in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and elsewhere present us with a good example of how we can maintain good relations with other groups.  I know that there are many LGBT people - including myself - who support labor unions' right to collective bargaining, and there are many LGBT people who were in Madison to protest the unjust bill Gov. Scott Walker (R) recently signed into law.  It is encouraging to see LGBT people standing with the teachers, firefighters, police officers, and others who are being threatened by the state Republicans.

And just a few weeks ago, the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, which represents over 250 local labor unions, endorsed marriage equality in Rhode Island.  Such a large organization, which represents so many people, is sure to have a powerful voice, and that voice is on our side.  Again, it is encouraging to see labor standing with LGBT people in their pursuit of equality.

The LGBT community must find its commonalities with other minorities, other groups who are suppressed, and stand together in solidarity with one another's causes.  In doing so, we will make our own movement stronger than ever.

I was actually just interviewing Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, for a school project, and she discussed the importance of building good relationships not only between the LGBT community and others, but also within the LGBT community.  Many gay people think that transgender people are slowing us down or hindering our movement in some way, and as she said, that is just wrong.  Both of our groups are very small, and there is still a lot of ignorance about both of us.  By standing together and bridging the gaps between us, we make ourselves and each other stronger.

This is something to think about as we move forward as a movement and as a people.  Finding common ground with other minorities is an essential strategy for moving our own causes forward.

As an aside, this marks my 200th post here at the new Justifiable Anger.  I hope those of you who read my work enjoy doing so and get something out of it.  When I first started bloging back in 2005, I never thought it would turn into something like this, or that I would get as much of a readership as I do - so thank you to everyone who makes this work rewarding.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A Decade of Marriage Equality - Where We Are Today

Ten years ago today, the Netherlands became the first country to offer full marriage rights for gay couples. 

Since April 1, 2001, 15,000 gay couples have been married in the Netherlands, with a divorce rate almost identical to that of their straight counterparts.  Twenty percent of all gay couples in the Netherlands are now married.

In the last decade, nine countries have joined the Netherlands in granting full marriage rights for gay couples: Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina.  This means that a little over 3% of the world population lives in a country that allows full marriage equality.

Additionally, five states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia offer gay marriages as well, and many more states offer civil unions, domestic partnerships, and recognition of out-of-state marriages.  42% of the US population lives in a state that has some form of recognition of same-sex couples, although the Defense of Marriage Act keeps those couples from receiving federal rights. 

In Mexico, gay marriage was recently legalized in Mexico City, and these marriages are recognized nation-wide.

(Check out this interesting graph by FiveThirtyEight, which illustrates how gay marriage has been steadily, and rapidly, increasing over the past decade.)

Countless other countries, including the United Kingdom, offer domestic partnerships or some other form of union for gay couples.

Importantly, most of this progress occurred over the last ten years: time is clearly on our side here.  Recognition of gay couples - and of gay rights in general - is increasing at an expontential rate.

This is not to say that full LGBT equality is inevitable, nor is it to say that we don't need to work hard.  Quite the contrary, most of this progress occurred because we did work hard, because we fought tooth and nail against the anti-LGBT forces and lobbied day and night for our equality.  But it is encouraging to see that all of our work is paying off, that the arc of history does bend towards justice and equality, and that LGBT equality will become a reality.

The wind is clearly at our backs: let us harness this energy and this momentum, as we continue onwards, so that we may gain full equality for future generations.  Equality is possible: the last ten years prove that.  Let's make the next ten years even better for LGBT all over the world.