1996 to Now: How Free Are We?

DOMA is likely on its last breaths and national marriage equality could be on its way. But is life really getting better for LGBT people? Take our poll and tell us.

BY Neal Broverman

April 01 2013 2:00 AM ET

During the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act hearing this past week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked Edie Windsor’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, how many civil unions existed when the federal law passed in 1996. "It was much, much fewer at the time," Kaplan responded, though she didn't have the exact number handy. (The number is zero.)

Ginsburg was trying to make a point that the America in which DOMA passed 17 years ago was a much different place for LGBT people than the America of 2013. Not only was legal same-sex marriage a seemingly distant dream, civil unions were nonexistent. While our advancement is obviously true from a legal standpoint, how much has our culture really changed and how much further do we have to go?

We’ve assembled a poll to start a conversation and gauge whether life is really changing for LGBTs. After answering the questions on the following pages, please share more about each of the experiences in the comments. 


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