paulflexes saidThe USA is truly a third world country in terms of equal rights.
This is not completely fair. We are, by most measures, the originator of global gay rights movement from the Stonewall era onward.
The factor that complicates our legal protection is that the US is based on federalism and separation of powers. So some states like CA, WA, IA, MA, CT or VT are very progressive with anti-discrimination protections and domestic partnerships (if not true marriage), while the more conservative states move in the other direction.
Unfortunately the feds are ultimately charged with leveling the playing field, as they did for the Civil Right movements in the '60s. Until we solve the partisan gridlock we currently have in Congress, this is unlikely to happen overnight. If we had a unitary system like most parliamentary democracies, I think we would've seen nationwide gay marriage years ago.
However, let's not sell ourselves short. We're ending DADT, and polls show more social acceptance of gay marriage than ever before. The hardliner social conservatives who stand in our way are becoming more and more of a minority. http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/05/20/Gallup_Poll_Majority_for_Marriage_Equality/