Moving forward, looking back

By Mark Segal

Jason and I went to a heterosexual wedding last weekend. (I wonder if heterosexuals say, "I went to a gay wedding last weekend"?) Anyway, it was the first one we've been to since our own wedding. We were honored to be asked to be a part of the ceremony itself; we got the opportunity to watch the faces of our friends, Jesse and Mark, as they went through a monumental change in their lives.

Watching them in all their happiness, and seeing them share that moment with family and friends, in a tradition that has continued for thousands of years, was very reassuring. To think that we in the LGBT community can now enjoy that same privilege amazes me, reinforced by the happiness I saw on Jesse and Mark's faces, which is similar to the joy shared by LGBT people in many places in this world. Yet, the activist in me thinks about the places where marriage equality is not legal, and where LGBT people are imprisoned or killed.

I find myself dwelling on this issue more and more, especially when we in this country have some great success in our struggle for equality. It seems we forget what it took to get to this point in our very own history, and at times we think of ourselves and our rights as an island - and leave the rest of the world far from our minds.

How far we have come in such a short time. My mind recalls that Thomas Jefferson, upon discovering that an officer was caught committing "buggery" with a common soldier at Valley Forge, wrote George Washington to suggest the man should be hanged. But then I smiled: How would Jefferson or even Washington react if they suddenly came back to life at the marriage of two men or women? Jefferson, who suggested that a revolution should take place from time to time, most likely would attempt to understand the changes in society. And I somehow think Washington might just try to be diplomatic and not hurt anyone's feelings with his own opinions.

The point is, we sometimes see marriage equality in current terms, and not as just one point in a struggle that still moves forward. The struggle is not over.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation's most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at

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