Last week was our first long-form email to you in several months, and I can honestly say I was blown away by the response. Many of you wrote to say thank you, so first, a hearty thank you back to you all for sticking with us for so long while we tried out other ways to communicate.
What really struck me as surprising is the fact that, within an hour of last week’s email, the Springfield News-Leader picked up a portion of our email, and with the headline, “Advocate: Marriage in MO ‘quite probable’ in year,” made the story viral. Within another day, the Riverfront Times out of Saint Louis and KSHB out of Kansas City followed suit.
So what happened? Well, while our simple statement – that we at PROMO believe marriage could be a reality for Missourians by next summer – seemed simple and obvious enough to us working closely on the issues, following the courts, or just following the news, for that matter, the vast majority of the population hasn’t been following this progress nearly as closely.
Let’s look at the climate briefly. We have seen win after win after win through court cases around the country in the wake of the Windsor Court decision last year striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Just trying, day to day, to keep up with where marriage is legal; where a constitutional amendment has been declared unconstitutional; where a court has issued a stay until further appeal; well… you get the idea – it continues to be a daunting task. Freedom to Marry, one of the many organizations we partner with, has a handy guide on their website - http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states.
The speed at which things are moving can be intoxicating. Still, I would urge caution and ask for your continued commitment to the fight for equality.
It is easy for us to believe that we are winning, and while I do believe that in my own heart, I also know that there is still so very much work left to do.
One other thing the response to last week’s email singled out for me is the fixation on marriage, both in our community and in the world at large. Marriage is often painted as the top issue for the gay and lesbian community. And yes, for many it is. We have been inundated with questions about marriage. The day we see the US Supreme Court strike down the remaining portion of DOMA – a day that could come as early as next summer – will be momentous and historic. But the next day, our work continues – we will continue our fight for basic protections in housing, employment and public services, as well as outreach and education on transforming systems and infrastructure so they are accessible to the full breadth of the LGBT community.