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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What’s Next For The Gay Rights Movement?

In this July 4, 1967 photo, Kay Tobin Lahusen, right, and other demonstrators carry signs calling for protection of homosexuals from discrimination as they march in a picket line in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. (AP)

In this July 4, 1967 photo, Kay Tobin Lahusen, right, and other demonstrators carry signs calling for protection of homosexuals from discrimination as they march in a picket line in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. (AP)

What do Wednesday’s Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 mean for the gay rights movement? And what’s next in the push for marriage equality?

Joe Solmonese is the former president of the Human Rights Campaign. He says the biggest moments in the history of the gay rights movement are “the sort of game changers, where nothing is ever the same the next day.”

He lists the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the formation of ACT UP and the organizing around the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and when Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage as some of these moments.

“And today is one of those days,” Solmonese said of the court’s decisions on same-sex marriage.

A decade ago, 18 percent of the U.S. population lived in a state with marriage equality, Solmonese said. Now that number is up to 30 percent with the addition of California.

“Tactically, you start to move that population up from 30 percent to 40 percent,” he said.

The next steps, said Solmonese, is continuing the movement’s efforts state-by-state, through legislation and litigation.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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