Congressman James Langevin, who had long supported civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, made a bit of a splash in May when he went a step further: endorsing same-sex marriage with an op-ed in the Providence Journal.
Earlier this month, another ripple that didn't go much noticed: Langevin signed on as the 121st co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that blocks federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Ray Sullivan, a former Langevin aide who now serves as campaign director for Marriage Equality Rhode Island, noted the Congressman's commitment on his blog last week.
Of course, the Respect for Marriage bill has no shot of passage in the Republican-controlled House. But Representative Jerry Nadler, the New York Democrat who introduced the legislation, says building support now is vital if Democrats hope to pass the bill upon recapturing Congress.
It seems unlikely that Democrats will take Congress in 2012. And as long as President Obama stays in office, and voters use Congressional elections to express any displeasure with the administration, seizing the Capitol will be tough. But the unpredictable see-saw of power in Washington of late - "wave" elections are no longer a once-in-a-generation pehnomenon - offers Democrats, and their gay and lesbian supporters, some hope.