THE BLOG

Waiting for the Court - But Not for History

06/20/2015 10:35 am ET | Updated Jun 19, 2016
Joey Kotfica via Getty Images

Seem a bit familiar? Here we are again, waiting for the Supreme Court to rule. It's become something of a Pride month tradition, a bit like parades and rainbow flags and motorcycles roaring up San Francisco's Market Street.

Yes, we've been here before . . .
Twenty-nine years ago, in June of 1986, we found ourselves at this place, reading tea leaves, weighing odds, and then seeing that wait end in the nightmare decision that was Bowers v. Hardwick - rather crassly announced the day after Pride.

Ten years later, we were back to argue against Colorado's dreadful Amendment 2 - and this time, after seven months of waiting, we won (6-3 no less!). Then in the June just 17 years after the hated Bowers - an eternity in denying human rights, but a judicial nanosecond - we waited again, dissecting the oral arguments, speculating and analyzing and daring to hope for what, just in time for Pride, actually came to pass: the monumental victory in Lawrence v. Texas and the end of anti-sodomy laws in the United States.

And we can all remember two years ago, waiting for what came down, to our joy, when Windsor gutted the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, today, within less than two weeks, we'll know the outcome of Obergefell v. Hodges, and whether we will - at long last - have the right to marry from coast to coast.

Of course, we've never just waited - for anything
It doesn't really do us justice to say that we waited. Yes, we waited, often anxiously, in the weeks and days and hours before these rulings. But the LGBT movement has never called a time out to sit patiently until someone else hands us our rights. We've fought for them. For more than half a century. Thousands of protests and marches, thousands of lawsuits, thousands of lobby visits, thousands of acts of courage and resistance and defiance, acts both large and small, have paved the way for every single last step forward.

After all, the first Pride parades marked perhaps the quintessential moment when LGBT people rose up to claim our full rights as citizens and our full dignity as human beings - the Stonewall Riots.

The real meaning of Pride
The joy of Pride - the pride of Pride - of course isn't really about whether the Supreme Court rules in our favor. It's not really about what anybody else has to say or how they feel toward us. The Court's decisions matter immensely. But they don't determine Pride.

We determine what Pride is, what Pride means. Pride lives in our families, our communities, the arts and cultures we've created. Pride lives in our history, in the record of dumbfounding challenges and stupefying odds that we've come so far toward overcoming. Pride lives in all the dizzying, dazzling ways that we march in Pride parades; all the ways that we love; all the ways that we fly our own rainbow flags.

Pride is ultimately what we make it - always has been and always will be. We all hope that 2015's Pride will bring another great legal triumph. But in the end, Pride has, does, and will matter even more.