That time of year has arrived for some personal lists and I am not immune from creating them! In fact, I love reviewing the year and measuring our enormous progress as a community.
1. The Supreme Court DOMA Decision
Without question one of the most historical moment in the history of the American LGBT community. Because of this decision, we have seen cases being filed all over America. Even more amazingly the courts are becoming activists in granting LGBT Americans their Constitutional Rights. No were is that more clear then the recent decision legalizing marriage in the state of Utah.
Also this case sealed Edie Windsor as the Rosa Parks in LGBT history and as "Person of the Year'. We could not have asked for a better person to file the DOMA case.
2. The Supreme Court Proposition 8 Decision
Another powerful decision from the United State Supreme Court which granted marriage equality to the largest state in America. Californians flocked to get married. While we wish it could be broader, coupled with the DOMA decision it changed LGBT history.
3. Russian Oppression of Their LGBT Citizens
The persecution of Russian LGBT citizens by both the government and Putin's Punks brought the plight of LGBT citizens around the round to the attention of the media, activists and governments.
4. Severe Penalties Being Passed Against LGBT Africans
The horror facing LGBT Africans is among the worse in the world. While not getting the attention of what is happening in Russia, the passage of severe laws against homosexuality is appalling. Uganda has just passed life imprisonment. Africa's largest country Nigeria also has passed outrageous laws against their LGBT citizens.
5. Marriage Equality Passes in More States
Marriage Equality swept the nation this year and we saw Minnesota, Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, New Mexico and now Utah all become marriage equality states.
6. Pope Francis Shifts From Social Issues
The impact Pope Francis shifting from social issues to economic issues can't be underestimated. His famous "Who am I to judge" statement was the beginning of the end of the persecution of LGBT citizens by the Catholic Church. We all have to pray for a long life for this Pope so his policies have time to take hold in the church and he is able to appoint lots of new Cardinals.
7. Prime Ministers Picked in Belgium and Luxembourg
Prime Minister Bettei with Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri
At one time to have an LGBT mayor was considered historical but now we have two Prime Ministers in Europe who are open. Iceland led the way but now it is simply no big deal.
8. Mayor Races Across The Country
Politically it was the race for Mayors that attracted the LGBT community's attention this year. We were successful in picking up a mayor in Seattle, re-electing one in Houston and being disappointed in New York.
9. President Obama Continued Advocacy and Appointments
The President has been relentless in advocating for freedom and justice for LGBT citizens not just in America but around the world. His appointments continue to amaze although we still are looking for that first LGBT Cabinet member! Nevertheless, appointments of Ambassadors to top tier nations like Australia, Denmark, Spain and the Dominican Republic is a real victory.
10. The Embrace Of The Democratic Party
LGBT Americans have been fully embraced by the Democratic Party especially after the DOMA decision. Only three Democratic United States Senators do not support marriage equality, the entire leadership of the Party is for it and the Democratic ticket in Virginia ran on it and defeated a hard line anti-LGBT ticket! Times have changed!
Runner-Up (Emerging Big Story for 2014): The Emergence Of LGBT Athletics and Allies
All over the sports worlds we have seen athletes come out of the closet. This was the year of Jason Collins and so many others. We still have yet to see an active player in football, basketball and baseball play in a game doing the regular season. Count on 2014 delivering on that milestone!