Those who remember the fight for civil liberties of African-Americans and for women may well feel a certain recognition at what the gay community is currently experiencing. As the generations change and the youth of today are much more accepting of a homosexual lifestyle, gays are taking to the streets and the courts to demand basic rights in regards to their relationships.
The most prominent example is of course the right to marriage, a right which seems so unlikely to be challenged but which nevertheless is hotly contested. Currently gays can enter into a “civil union” that entails many of the same rights as those enjoyed by a married couple, yet this raises memories of the old “separate but equal” practices of discrimination. Those who oppose gay marriage argue from a definitional standpoint, asserting that marriage means a union between a man and a women; yet, what is really at stake is the societal recognition of a homosexual union as equally legitimate to a heterosexual one.
Considering that this nation that has overcome racism and misogyny nevertheless still faces discrimination on both counts, there is no doubt that a complete change in attitude with respect to gay marriage may take a long time to effect; yet, the very fact that this nation has made such great strides in these areas in such a short time should be cause for hope. America is a country of tolerance and progressiveness, ideals its naysayers would do well to remember.