It's easy to be judgmental of people -- like most of the Republican presidential candidates and many folks in the Bible Belt -- who continue to oppose same-sex marriage. Now that the majority of states condone gay marriage and that it seems likely that the Supreme Court will soon make it the rule for the whole country, being against men marrying men and women marrying women seems practically medieval.
But we should not forget that it was only back in Barack Obama's first term as president that he was expressing a preference for civil unions over full marriage rights. Among Democrats and liberals, he was hardly an exception. It took a shift in consciousness for many of us to understand that the full rights and responsibilities of marriage were deeply valued by committed gay and lesbian couples and that expecting them to accept anything less was to misperceive the nature of their love and their rightful status as full citizens.
It is not surprising that some Americans -- especially conservative religious folk -- are coming to this understanding much more slowly. This is, after all, a monumental course correction in the human journey.
In a few years, everyone will wonder why it was such a big deal. For now, supporters of marriage equality can be magnanimous in victory and show a little patience with those who still do not get it.