09/12/2014 04:28 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Justice for George and Victory for Fred in Arizona

The news just broke in this AP story: "A judge has handed a victory to a gay man who lost his spouse to cancer last month and was denied death benefits because Arizona does not recognize same-sex marriage."

The release from "Why Marriage Matters Arizona" included this quote:

"Today, a federal judge heard Fred's motion--and we are happy to report that Judge Sedwick did the right thing. Fred & George's marriage is now legally recognized in Arizona--and Fred will not be denied survivor benefits that he needs and so rightfully deserves."

It goes without saying that it is a bittersweet victory because George did not live to see his marriage recognized in his lifetime. But it is an incremental victory that is a stepping-stone toward the finish line of marriage equality in our nation.

There is most certainly a light at the end of the tunnel -- and yet we are not "there yet" until every single George and Fred have the equal protection for their marriage that the Constitution guarantees all Americans. Because equal protection is not equal protection until it protects all American equally.

And today -- thanks to the diligence and determination of all those who continue to work to make marriage equality a reality (and to Lambda Legal in specific) -- we are one step closer to making "liberty and justice for all" really mean "all."