Shawn Vestal: We took big steps on marriage and marijuana, but the journey isn’t finishedPosted by On

Ten years ago, our state took two momentous steps in one momentous election: We legalized recreational marijuana and we equalized marriage.

We were at the leading edge of both changes, and since then, a lot of the country caught up. We were the among the first states to legalize gay marriage – initially through the Legislature and then by referendum – and one of the first to legalize marijuana.

We rapidly absorbed these changes. For much of the time since, what was once novel came to seem ordinary – simply just and proper. Steps once deemed urgent and dramatic simmered into normalcy.

And yet these new normals began far more tenuously than we might remember.

And their future is far from settled.

The right for gay couples to marry has suddenly come to seem more precarious than it once had. Our congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, voted Thursday against the bill protecting the marriage rights for gay people, though that bill seems certain to become law. And in a political environment of ugly, resurgent homophobia, the Supreme Court seems poised to sanction further discrimination against gay couples on religious grounds.

And while the explosive growth of marijuana sales has not been greeted with a similar court challenge, the 21 states where recreational pot is legal face the future possible complications of a long-overdue change at the federal level – which would bring with it a host of regulatory and legal challenges.

In other words, a decade after…

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