Progress, slow and sometimes with a step backward, but sure

This presidential election was monumental–people who would have been considered less than full citizens in the last century were on both major tickets, and we have now elected our first African American president. No matter your party affiliation, that is a triumph for America.

And yet, even as this historic selection was taking place, a majority of Californians voted to strip their neighbors of their right to marry, as did several other states that had not even extended the right yet.

Andrew Sullivan wrote late last night: “We will win this in the end. We must never let popular votes affect our own internal sense of our worth, our equality, our dignity as human beings. Our marriages are real; all that is at issue is whether a majority will recognize them in law. The next generation already does. We shall overcome. Do not be discouraged.”

America will have full marriage equality, I know. But my heart hurts even on this amazing day, for all those who have had to or are still having to live through inequality on humanity’s long road of ethical evolution. Slowly but inexorably, we are learning that we are all human, possessing equal worth and deserving of equal dignity and treatment. Plessy v. Ferguson came before Brown v. Board of Education, and now we have President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama.