The hope of finding real marriage equality in the United States for gay couples in 2003 looked rather grim. After significant court loses in several states, including Hawaii, and with the 1996 Clinton-approved Defense of Marriage Act in place, proponents of gay marriage were feeling mangled.

Yet, 2003 will be forever remembered as the year when gay marriage finally found its footing in an unlikely New England venue ... Massachusetts.

The case was Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, and the state Supreme Court verdict was clear: Denying gay couples the right to marry violated Massachusetts' constitution. The court found the state's arguments that denied marriage benefits to gays and lesbians inadequate and gave the legislature 180 days to remedy the situation.

GLAD attorneys Mary Bonauto and Jennifer Levi argued the historic case. And recently, CEO Charlotte Robinson spoke with GLAD Executive Director Lee Swislow about gay marriage as a national issue and where we go from here.

“[Gay marriage] is not a voting issue for anyone really this election,” Swislow said, happily. “We think that's a sign the country is moving forward. I hesitate to use the word 'normalization' because that word could be something we only experience in Massachusetts. But, to some extent, it is a sign of the growing acceptance that same sex couples deserve the same right to participate in society as any other couples, and polls show increasing support certainly for marriage and for other forms of relationship recognition.”

While Swislow remained optimistic about gay rights in America, her mood turned somber when discussing Republicans, saying she was happy not to be one.

“Well, I am really glad I'm not a Log Cabin Republican (the gay Republicans), because I think – what a position to be in. ... Personally, I would never make the compromise that they have made in endorsing a [Republican] ticket that is so hostile to our interests and to equality. I wish them well. If they are successful, that will only help us, but boy, do I think it's a hard and perhaps fruitless road to be going down. But good luck to them.”

And on gay marriage in California, and where the community would turn if it was lost in the November election: “The first thing that would happen would be a lot of sadness. ... We also know the progress for civil rights for any community is not a straight line, as much as we would like to see that happen. ... It would be a tremendous setback – a huge disappointment – if we were to lose the fight in California. But that won't stop us from fighting in Connecticut, in New York, New Jersey and Vermont, Maine and Iowa, and every other state, because we know that equality is right. And we know whatever the setbacks, ultimately, we're going to be successful. I'm not saying it will be easy, but we'll keep fighting.”

GLAD is currently involved in gay marriage litigation in several states, including an imminent Supreme Court ruling in Connecticut. It is also involved in fundraising efforts that support gay marriage and GLBT rights. Learn more about GLAD at

On the net: More on this interview can found at