The Last Year-in-Review You'll Ever Need

This week, we're looking to the recent past. At the end of 2011 and 2012, I produced "year in review" videos that summed up everything that happened with marriage equality those years, and looked ahead to what was coming next. Each one's a fascinating little time capsule, and I'm happy to say that most of my predictions came true. Here's the first one, which I made almost exactly four years ago in December of 2011.

Hey, it's Matt in 2015. A couple interesting things jump out there. First is all that attention to civil unions. It was only four years ago that civil unions were a big deal, that it was considered good news when a state had them. Nowadays of course we'd think of them as insufficient, as separate but equal. We've come to expect full equality in just four years -- it's an amazingly rapid change.

Another detail from 2011 was that brief mention of a judge ordering the National Organization for Marriage to turn over a list of their donors in Maine. NOM was able to drag the release of that information until earlier this year, 2015. And guess what they were hiding? Their total number of donors in Maine was: 6. Yup, six. Of those, five were insanely rich people from around the country giving between 50,000 and 1.25 million, and the other was the knights of columbus. Money well spent.

Also in 2011, we were only just barely starting to see national surveys that showed a majority supported the freedom to marry. It was too soon to really be optimistic, because it was hard to tell if it was a trend or just a fluke. Well, now we know -- it was a trend. Support continues to surge upward, and at last count we had 50 with majority support.

Something that's striking about the end of 2011 video is the nervousness about how the votes in 2012 would go. We'd lose the battle in North Carolina, but that was the last time an anti-marriage ballot measure passed. Just a few months later, we won marriage in Washington, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota.

And of course, there's that line I deliver at the end of the video: "I would really like to get married." That was one of the biggest changes of all between then and now. Just goes to show, you never know how future-you might surprise yourself.

Now let's take a listen to the video I produced a year later, in January of 2013. This one's more of a look ahead than a look back.

One thing I was absolutely right about: the Supreme Court rulings would be a big big deal only a few months later. But I didn't do a great job of describing them. "The culmination of AFER's work" really doesn't cover it. In fact, the ruling on DOMA was probably more important, since it set the stage for the ruling two years later that overturned marriage bans around the country. 

Another interesting detail: you can see the shift here, just a year later, from accepting civil unions to expecting marriage. States like Illinois, having just passed civil unions a year earlier, were quickly moving toward marriage. And civil union efforts in Colorado faltered in part because many organizers saw them as insufficient.

I also just want to point out that mention of Chris Christie, who had at the time just vetoed a marriage bill. As Republicans go, he's actually one of the least homophobic -- but that's still not saying much. Now he's running for president, and it's worth remembering that he's never been much of a friend.

A couple people have asked me if I'll go a year in review this year, and I figured, sure, I might as well. So here it is: we won. That's it. Your marriage equality year in review for 2015, and the last one you'll ever need to hear.

In Your Arms Kevin MacLeod ( 
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