So, this is the end of it.The best year ever for gay people (except for 1969 the year they rioted at the Stonewall, or 1996 the year they discovered protease inhibitors and HIV cocktails, and some others, like 1912 the year Marcel Proust first submitted In Search of Lost Time to publishers). Steven Payne has something to say about our progress on the marriage front on DailyKos, Read his short essay. This year, the United States doubled the number of states with marriage equality, to 36. See Freedom to Marry. We may be through with the whole thing by the end of June, and we are beginning to hear rumblings about turning our attention to ENDA. All of that is refreshing news.

There is much commentary on the web having to do with our progress in getting marriage equality. The subject leaves me feeling slightly anxious. I want to be able to be married because I want to be able to do anything straight people can do, and there are financial advantages, but I don’t want us to lose what we have gained during our years in the wilderness, like what we have learned about relationships. What we’ve learned is valuable to the human race. I don’t want us to set up a system where marriage is established as the final state of two men in love. It is one of the states that a couple can choose for their relationship. A good parent in these years, when talking to his pre-adolescent child, might say,  “You will grow up, and you may find that you fall in love with a woman or with a man. And later, you may decide to get married or not. Or have children or not. You have many options, and you are free.” There should be no intrinsic advantage to one option over another.

The other great advance during 2014 was in the numbers of people from everywhere and from all conditions who came out. Their numbers seem to make it easier for everyone else.

This year I read two books by David Brion Davis on slavery. These big books have much to say about their subject, but they also have much to say about ourselves. As I wrote here:

Davis’s book instructs us that legal equality and freedom will not bring with them an instant end to suffering. We will still have with us the walking wounded, survivors of the long years in the wilderness, who exhibit the effects of wounds received thirty or forty or fifty years ago. We count in our ranks men and women, the recently wounded, who fight in the current wars. Davis’s book, published this year but about events in the first half of the nineteenth century, predicts a long, hard, twilight struggle for queers, whatever happens this year with marriage.

I wish you a good new year.