Barney Frank thinks gay marriage is a wedge issue for the Democrats, and ABC reports that 52%  are in favor of gay marriage. People say this is a water-shed moment for gay people.

So, we sleep well at night, believing as we do that if you hang in there long enough, the worm turns. Has this worm turned? What are the first signs?

If the goal is to get to a politically-protected class for gay people, then that worm does seem to have turned. There are high-profile indicators, DADT the best one. Gay marriage would be another. The lifting of all inequalities in the INS is another.

But the bigger goal is to get to a point where we don’t have serious need for protection, that is, when we are more fully accepted. How close are we to that? An indicator would be the decline in the anti-gay violence statistics. Short of that, we are given polls regularly. What do people think, first, about the various laws and regulations which delegitimize gay people, and then about the more difficult-to-measure issues like attitudes. How do they feel about us?

What is happening here, I think, is the gradual getting-into-alignment of our legal system and our biological and social reality. This is true: our choice of gender object is not a significant factor in defining who we are for the legal system, but right now it still matters a lot to a lot of people, how many we don’t know. And of course it matters to us. At some point down the road, it will be possible for us to look at the kinds of differences we bring to the table—everything the gay community has learned about marriage, for example, during its several hundred years in the wilderness—and to see how much respect those differences are given when we begin to talk about them. We are not near there yet.