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Roger Doughty Headshot

Where History Is Really Made

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We all know this is a big week, with not one but two landmark LGBT rights cases being argued before the Supreme Court. Discussion of our rights on every news-related website, in every magazine, on every newscast. All eyes across the country on who we are and whether our birthright to the same freedoms granted unquestioningly to others will be recognized and protected by our government.

As they should be, all eyes are also trained on the lawyers and plaintiffs, especially the high-profile Olsen-Boies team. And all eyes are naturally on the justices themselves, whose every word and question is being pored over like prophesy.

More than the lawyers, more than the justices

But amidst the saturation coverage and talking heads and boundless speculation about what's going on in the justices' heads, it's worth remembering that all this is about much, much more than nine powerful people in black robes and prominent attorneys. This week these cases are about all of us, every single LGBT person in America. And not only because their outcomes will affect our lives, but also because it's LGBT people -- thousands upon thousands upon thousands of us -- who have brought us to this electrifying moment in history.

Look at the crowds massed in front of the Court. Look at -- and hear -- the pumped-up march that went down Market Street in San Francisco. Look at the rallies across the country. Look at the stunning polling numbers we're seeing around marriage. That's where the real source of our freedom lies.

If it hadn't been for LGBT people -- tens of thousands of us and our allies -- fighting for voters to go the right way at ballot boxes in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state, it would be much harder to argue that the country is really shifting. Were it not for millions of LGBT people taking the personal risk of coming out to those who we love, we wouldn't be where we are now. Ditto had it not been for the millions who've marched for our rights, who've volunteered, and who've made countless gifts, great and small, to support this movement year after year after year.

Where our power and the future lie

Don't get me wrong. What happens in Washington this week -- and in June, when the decisions most likely will come down -- matters a great deal. This is history. But I believe that whatever comes down won't alter the ultimate outcome. We're going to win. What the Supreme Court can do is usher LGBT Americans at last into the Constitution's full embrace -- or delay what will one day, surely, be ours as much as everyone else's.

That outcome -- our equality, our freedom to choose whom to marry -- isn't in serious doubt. And in the end, the guarantors of that outcome are the power, courage and commitment of our community, and we will not fail.