Ten years ago this fall, the fight for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in the United States looked like a lost cause. When Massachusetts became the first state to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, in May 2004, the reaction from opponents was fast and furious. Within six months, voters in 13 states approved amendments to their state constitutions that banned same-sex marriage, bringing the number of states with such amendments to 17.

Fast-forward to 2014. Same-sex...

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