the lgbt community has two possible "setbacks" coming up. without diminishing their importance, neither should be viewed as major losses, but as minor stumbling blocks.
the california supreme court is all but expected to rule today to uphold proposition 8 banning gay marriage. the bigger story will be how the court deals with the nearly 18,000 gay marriages performed last year in the legal window between that court's original ruling in may – protecting a fundamental "right to marry" that extended to same-sex couples – and the passage of prop 8 in november, stripping that right from those and other couples.
second, the new york state senate will vote by june 22nd on the marriage equality bill introduced earlier this year by governor david patterson and passed recently by the house. there was initial skepticism that proponents had enough votes to pass the legislation, but with assemblyman daniel o'donnell and senator tom duane on the case things may be shifting.
a no on both will certainly appear to slow the remarkable momentum the civil rights issue has been enjoying since iowa legalized same-sex marriage in april. but neither ruling will actually be as devastating as they appear. california will undoubtedly revisit the issue through ballot referendum in 2010. and in new york, although the issue would likely be tabled for two years, it will inevitably be reintroduced after elections in 2010.
the old saying "the difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them," seems perfectly relevant today.