Gay rights took a hit Tuesday when Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) agreed with her party to filibuster a measure ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but the movement is still advancing, as key legal cases move forward. Recently, the movement scored two victories on same-sex marriage, when federal courts declared the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Activists’ strategy had been to push their cause through state courts, seen as more sympathetic, but these decisions show federal judges more willing to strike down anti-gay laws. The next steps for this litigation are difficult, and the big question remains: Will the Supreme Court agree with lower courts’ interpretation of Lawrence v. Texas? That case, which found an anti-sodomy law unconstitutional, marked a major change in federal courts’ stance toward homosexuality. After one court said that ruling didn’t even apply to a ban on sex toys, judges have been slowly moving toward interpreting the majority opinion in Lawrence to recognize people’s right to have personal relationships.
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