Waiting for the Court – But Not for History

Pride Message 2015

Seem a bit familiar? Here we are, once more waiting for the Supreme Court. It’s become almost something of a Pride month tradition, a bit like parades and rainbow flags and motorcycles roaring up San Francisco’s Market Street.

Yes, we’ve been here before . . .

But unlike pride parades and rainbow flags, this tradition hasn’t always played out happily. Twenty-nine years ago, in June of 1986, we found ourselves at this place, reading tea leaves, weighing odds, and then seeing that wait end in the nightmare decision that wasBowers v. Hardwick – coldly announced the day after Pride.

A decade later, we came back in the Romer case to argue against Colorado’s dreadful Amendment 2. And this time, after seven months of uneasy waiting, we won (6-3 no less!). Then only 17 years after the hated Bowers – an eternity in denying human rights, but a judicial nanosecond – we waited again, dissecting the oral arguments, speculating and analyzing and daring to hope for what, just in time for Pride, actually came to pass: the monumental victory in Lawrence v. Texas and the end of anti-sodomy laws in the United States. 

And we can all remember two years ago, waiting for what came down, to our joy, when Windsor gutted the Defense of Marriage Act. Now, today, within days, we’ll know the outcome of Obergefell v. Hodges, and whether we will – at long last – have the right to marry from coast to coast.

Of course, we’ve never just waited – for anything

It doesn’t really do us justice to say that we waited. Yes, we waited, often anxiously, in the weeks and days and hours before these rulings. But the LGBT movement has never called a time out to sit patiently until someone else hands us our rights. We’ve fought for them. For more than half a century. Thousands of protests and marches, thousands of lawsuits, thousands of lobby visits, thousands of acts of courage and resistance and defiance, acts both large and small, have paved the way for every single last step forward.

After all, the first Pride marches marked perhaps the quintessential moment when LGBT people rose up to claim our full rights as citizens and our full dignity as human beings – the Stonewall Riots.

The real meaning of Pride

The joy of Pride – the pride of Pride – of course isn’t really about whether the Supreme Court rules in our favor. It’s not really about what anybody else has to say or how they feel toward us. The Court’s decisions matter immensely. But they don’t determine Pride.

We determine what Pride is, what Pride means. Pride lives in our families, our communities, the arts and cultures we’ve created. Pride lives in our history, in the record of dumbfounding challenges and stupefying odds that we’ve come so far toward overcoming. Pride lives in all the dizzying, dazzling ways that we march in Pride parades; all the ways that we love; all the ways that we fly our own rainbow flags.

Pride is ultimately what we make it – always has been and always will be. Horizons is so proud to be part of this movement and of this Bay Area community. Thank you for being part of it and living proud this Pride day – and every day.

May this be a most wonderful Pride for you and our whole community.

With pride, affection, and respect,



Roger Doughty, Executive Director