The 2010s

I remember it was 50 years ago today that June Pride month in 2014 began. I use the word remember loosely. The President had just declared it as national Pride month as he did every month. We take it for granted now, but back then it was still a fairly new thing. The same President who spoke of the road to equality at an inauguration ceremony as running "from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall."

Maybe moments like these come every half century. In my days as a man just entering my 30s, I would often look back to the 1960s for inspiration in much the same way we look back at the 2010s now. So much has changed since then. It's what inspired me to write this blog, a lost form of communication, which I'm bringing back as much out of nostalgia as anything else. Here are a few highlights from that decade of equality.

  • 2010 – the first time married gay couples were counted in the census
  • 2011 – marked the end of DADT
  • 2012 – saw the first sitting President to support marriage equality, was the first time marriage equality became a winning issue at the ballot box, and saw the first openly gay US Senator elected
  • 2013 – the Supreme Court case that marked the beginning of the end to DOMA
  • 2014 – challenges to marriage discrimination laws were happening in every state by the end of this year, the ban on gay scouts was lifted
  • 2015 - the year an ENDA executive order was issued
  • 2016 - the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land across the states
  • 2017 - the transgender military service ban finally fell
  • 2018 - the ban on gay scouts leaders was lifted, the ban on gay blood donors was lifted
  • 2019 - the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that in many ways launched the modern LGBT equal rights movement

It was the decade in which North Carolina became the first state in the south to send an openly gay candidate to Congress to boot. There were so many other victories and losses, but that is a time that will always have a special place in my heart.

Though the policy gains are what it is remembered, for me it was the change in culture. Back then, before that time, you could take a beating or worse for being gay. Coming out was a moment with as much fear then as it is of celebration today. You had to watch where you did something as simple as holding hands.

Here we are in the 60s again, the 2060s. Given the primary we just went through, I thought all of this was worth remembering to remind us what is possible. And to look ahead and imagine what is possible, because that is always the first step in getting there.


On track so far

2014 – challenges to marriage discrimination laws were happening in every state by the end of this year


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Seven couples filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging the constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage in North Dakota, making it the last state in the country with a ban to be sued by gay couples seeking the right to marry in their home state.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Fargo, challenges both North Dakota's ban on gay marriage and its refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in other states. That means cases are currently pending in all 31 states with gay marriage bans. Judges have overturned several of the bans since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

A federal judge also struck down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage on Friday, ruling it unconstitutional.

And another

Wisconsin becomes the latest in an unbroken string of states in which judges have struck down gay marriage bans.

Can't stop the dominoes.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Ahead of schedule!

"Obama to sign executive order on LGBT workplace protections"

“The president has declared 2014 a year of action – vowing to use the power of his pen and phone to take action on behalf of the American people to strengthen the economy and the middle class,” said an anonymous White House official in a statement Monday. “His actions have been driven by the core American principle that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed, and that your ability to get ahead should be determined by your hard work, ambition, and goals – not by the circumstances of your birth, your sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Data from the Williams Institute shows that the order would protect 11 million more American workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and up to 16.5 million more workers based on gender identity.

Freedom To Work president Tico Almeida lauded the move in a statement to The Advocate on Monday, calling the order, "a tremendous step forward in the campaign to give LGBT Americans a fair shot to build a successful career being judged on their talent and hard work — nothing more and nothing less.”

He added, that the most immediate impact of such an order will be at "ExxonMobil’s corporate headquarters in Dallas, where the Exxon executives who have fought against LGBT protections for years will finally have to reconsider their retrograde position if they want to continue profiting from hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts. We predict Exxon will finally cave to pressure.”

The video from yesterday