VICTORY is a compendium of the events on the path to where we are today in the fight for full GLBT equality in the United States. Thus author Linda Hirshman has a lot of ground to cover, pausing on a few topics in depth, notably the AIDS epidemic, the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy governing military service, and marriage equality.
In her introduction and throughout the book, Hirshman puts forward a thesis that the struggle for gay rights has been a fight for GLBT people to become full citizens in the liberal state. Beginning in the 17th century, she argues, the liberal state has made three fundamental promises to its citizens: security, liberty, and self-governance. “It’s a good deal. No wonder so many people want in.” She discusses the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the “full faith and credit” clause, which instructs states to honor each others’ contracts, a mandate that’s clearly violated by the Defense of Marriage Act and state legislation against marriage equality.