[Editor's note: When discussing the Massaschusetts gay marriage ruling with hilton, he was, as ever full of insights (like how Massachusetts, the oldest state, came up with the same ruling as Hawaii, the newest state). So we requested hilton expand his thoughts on the matter. Here, he gives his "initial thoughts and platitudes," with more to come.]

The Gay Movement is this generation's civil rights movement. It encapsulates the ideas of individual liberty and freedom that we have been taught in our civil society lessons in elementary school, and for which we allegedly are willing to put our best men and women in foreign countries to defend. What happened today in Massachusetts is one step for the queer community, and indeed the Nation as a whole, to overcome the legal and social shackles that have suppressed, repressed, and oppressed us.

So where does the Massachusetts decision put the queer community? It reaffirms the basic human dignity issues that our nation's Supreme Court addressed in Lawrence. It challenges the sense of straight entitlement. It redefines marriage from a privilege to a right. And it puts the queer community one step closer to the goal that began in this country with the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York -- full enjoyment of the rights conferred to us both by the law and by society's fundamental notions of freedom and equality.

Under federal and state law, marriage comes with multitudes of legal privileges, from a widow's rights to his or her spouse's social security income to the right of joint custody of a child; marriage confers on a couple enormous rights and privileges. But beyond the legal ramifications of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, it also legitimizes the gay couple in society. My straight colleagues and fellow-students who are married find themselves somehow more entitled to benefits both mundane and extraordinary.

In this opinion, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has gone where even Vermont refused to go. It has changed the State's common law definition of marriage, and has done so with stronger language than Vermont's court. It is a right based on not only abstract notions of Constitutional legitimacy, but on the basic right to human dignity and intimacy. What the federal government, namely Congress, does with this decision we will all have to wait and see. But now is the time to celebrate and reflect on how far we as a Nation have come to respecting individual liberty and rights, and how much farther we still must go.

The Boston Globe: Massachusetts' highest court ruled 4-3 today that same-sex couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution. The court ordered the Legislature to come up with a solution within 180 days and a special section on gay marriage

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Text of the ruling