Facebook was a sea of red yesterday with red equal signs dominating the site. The outpouring of excitement was enough to literally take your breath away. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision a day where the entire nation would be focused on marriage equality before the United States Supreme Court.
Just the moment itself was historical no matter the outcome. Huge lines of people waiting to get inside the edifice, two of the nation's best lawyers representing the LGBT community, thousands outside the court standing up to be counted and all over the country people marching, holding candles, praying and singing for full equality
What a day.
No one can ever take this moment away from us.
Where we do have to focus is what constitutes a victory?
LGBT Americans and our allies shouldn't get carried away with expectations that can't possibly be met and then lose our 'victory' in the process.
There is no question that the greatest victory would be for the United States Supreme Court to proclaim without hesitation that marriage equality is a Constitutional Right. For those inside and outside the court who are cautioning a 'more gradual approach', they forget one basic fact. The Court's role is not to sample public opinion polls to see if their rulings are popular. They are supposed to rule on the Constitution and in that case full equality under that document is demanded by all decent people.
Nevertheless, there seems to be some movement in the court for a more gradual process. There are profound victories for the community even in that case. If California is suddenly a marriage equality state, then that is a huge victory. Anything more than that would be just more topping on the ice cream sundae!
If along with California, DOMA is appealed we should be shouting our joy from the roof tops. Even though the Court's courage might fall short at this moment it is important for each and everyone of us to understand there are real victories for us on a number of fronts.
Finally, even with a full fledged victory there is much work to still be done. States will have to be brought into compliance and resistance to the decision broken down. If it is a partial victory, states like Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, Minnesota and New Jersey need our help and resources.
Enjoy this moment since the are rare. Just remember there are a number of victories possible and there is a lot more work to be done!