Well, it’s certainly a good time for gay rights activists (of which I am one). In addition to the passage of the bill permitting same-sex marriage in New York, there is now a bill making its way through the United States Congress that will pave the way for both the repeal of DOMA and for the granting of numerous rights to same-sex couples at the federal level. Both of these, in addition to the recent polls suggesting a majority of Americans support various rights for GLBT citizens, gives us a lot of reasons to celebrate.

However, the battle is far from over.

In states all over the Union there are constitutional amendments and laws that bar same-sex couples from enjoying the same rights (and responsibilities, I might add) of straight couples. There are still a lot of people out there, including some very prominent politicians (*cough*Michelle Bachman*cough cough*) who remain wed to the idea of defending “traditional marriage,” whatever that means. If the defeat in California showed us anything, it is that we do not have the luxury of sitting back and enjoying the our victories. We have to keep taking the battle forward, making sure that we are granted the same rights as everyone else.

And one of the fiercest battles we will fight will be against conservatives, who say that they are being persecuted for their beliefs when they say they want to defend marriage. It is a travesty when the democratic principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion are used in the support of beliefs that run counter to those very principles. I am not suggesting that we should take any sort of action to curtail the freedom of religious expression, but there does come a point where that crosses into hate speech, and that cannot be tolerated. Your right to practice your religion (no matter how bigoted or oppressive that religion may be) ends where it interferes with my rights to be with the person I love and want to build my life with. If you don’t want your church to grant same-sex marriages that’s fine, no one is going to force you, but don’t try to stop those churches that do, and most definitely don’t think that you will be able to stem the tide.

The gay rights wave is coming in, and there’s nothing going to stop it.