Demonstrators from both sides of the same-sex marriage debate gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, on Wednesday, March 27, in Washington. The justices are hearing two cases this week related to state and federal laws restricting same-sex marriage.

Editor’s Note: Allison Hope is a writer whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Slate and elsewhere. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. Read more opinion on CNN.

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Ten years ago, I did something that would have been unthinkable a decade earlier - I married the love of my life.

This may not seem seismic, but for me and other members of the LGBTQ+ community, marriage to our heart’s desire was a club we weren’t allowed to join. It was just one of many ways in which we had been told we were not equal.

Allison Hope

This June marks 10 years of marriage equality. Edie Windsor took on the United States government and won as the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor, which overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. That law stipulated that it was illegal to define marriage in any way other than as a relationship between one man and one woman.

I married my wife 10 years ago, less than three weeks before the SCOTUS ruling. We decided it was worth getting married even if our government didn’t recognize it. What an incredible wedding present from the Supreme Court to receive legal recognition of our marriage less than a month later. There were a lot of happy tears.

For many years before that fateful day, I resisted the notion of domestic partnerships or marriage as a concept. Marriage was a prison sentence, I told myself, a suffocating institution that cisgender and heterosexual people walked into like zombies because they thought they had to. The tradition was rooted in patriarchy and rigid gender rules and came with so many weird traditions that people spent appalling amounts of time and money on.

As a queer person, I often felt lucky to be on the outside of those societal pressures, even as I also felt bitter that I was denied access to something so many others could have – simply because of my gender or who I loved.

Then, when marriage equality became legal and I met my soulmate, I realized that getting married was the most radical act I could commit. It was a big “take that!” to a social order and a government that had, for so long, oppressed or ignored my community.

Marriage equality certainly didn’t make everything OK for LGBTQ+ Americans. Urgent issues remained then (and remain now): basic non-discrimination protections, hate crime laws and access to health care.

What made marriage special was that it embodied something people could rally around – love and family. Hundreds of benefits come along with the federal government recognizing one’s marriage, including some that went beyond tax cuts, like the psychological safety in knowing that the powers that be consider you equal to everyone else.

The fall of DOMA also mattered because of how horrific the efforts to block queer Americans from marriage rights had been. Public officials had compared people like me to farm animals (if two same-gender people can marry, who was to say bestiality wouldn’t be next?). Some of those anti-marriage arguments have painful echoes to the present, in arguments used to advance anti-trans legislation and recent curriculum and book banning efforts.

Despite the huge gain that marriage equality ushered in one decade ago this month – and the significance it has for LGBTQ+ Americans, and indeed for me and my family personally– the uphill battle remains.

In years past, I’ve written about what it means to have pride for being LGBTQ+ and the progress we’ve made. If you hold all the June stories I’ve written up together, you see a clear pattern – a march from living in the shadows to chest-out in the bright sun, non-discrimination laws in our favor, marriage equality and greater representation in media and entertainment. But then you see a clear pivot.

As with all bell curves, the zenith is followed by a dip. The dip from majority acceptance and relative safety and mainstreaming feels severe, and it’s happened quickly. What’s more, it’s not over yet. We don’t know just how far the pendulum may swing to the right. What will the collateral damage look like?

It would be naïve to think marriage equality might be saved from the chopping block in this moment of backlash and backsliding. One doesn’t have to look any further than Clarence Thomas’ incendiary comments in the Dobbs abortion decision about Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that the 14th Amendment requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriage.

Trans and gender diverse Americans are already losing health care, access to basic rights like using the bathroom or being called by the right name and pronouns. Books and curricula that mention that we merely exist are being torched. Ray Bradbury, George Orwell and Margaret Atwood are all invoked, only they wrote fiction and I am writing fact. This Pride Month, we are fighting for our right to exist. We must continue to raise our voices to fight the efforts to silence us.

When I contemplate why we continue to fight, there is one day forever etched in my memory. It was a hot July day, just one month after the Supreme Court had ruled in Edie Windsor’s case. I mingled along with my newly minted wife at an annual LGBTQ+ gathering in the Hamptons, feeling like I could hold my head up higher than ever before.

That’s the funny thing about marginalization – you don’t realize the weight you’re carrying until it’s been lifted slightly—and you can move about your life like everyone else who never had to worry about being beaten up for holding your partner’s hand on the street, or about not being able to visit them in the hospital on their death bed or the bevy of other rights that are afforded to people who weren’t LGBTQ+.

That’s when I saw her: Windsor was there, then well into her eighties, chowing down on hot dogs and radiating a light that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I approached her and felt like I was stepping into a history book. I knew I would never forget this moment.

“Thank you for fighting on behalf of us all,” I said to her. That’s when she stepped forward, took my hands in hers and squeezed them. Then, she planted a big kiss on my lips and proceeded to do the same with my wife. It was pure love and honor and recognition, like the shake of a royal family’s hand or catching the winning home run ball at the World Series.

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Marriage is laundry and bickering over what’s for dinner and a million other tiny, mundane moments that, when strung together, tell the story of love and family and survival. Marriage is the assurance that you don’t have to walk through this complex world alone. Plus, tax breaks.

While LGBTQ+ people have been loving and forming families for time immemorial without the stamp of approval from broader society, there is something incredibly significant about being able to step out of the shadows and show our faces – and our beautiful love stories – in full daylight.

With everything under threat now, it feels more important than ever to walk proudly down the street, my wife’s fingers entwined with mine, our matching wedding bands visible. I can still recall the salt from Edie’s kiss, loaded with hope and celebration and a fight well won. My wife and I won’t ever take it for granted that our union is recognized, and that it could be taken away at any moment.

There’s one thing we’re certain of, which is that love is love, and no one is shoving us back into the shadows.