LGBT advocates have learned to make their campaigns more about people wanting to be together than people wanting to get rights and benefits, he said.
"We have really focused on the reasons why they want to get married: because they love each other," Cole-Schwarz said. "That's really helped change the nature of the conversation."
Workplace a battleground in LGBT fight
The Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against people based on their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
But not their sexual identity.
That means, under federal law, there's nothing to prevent a worker from failing to hire or firing someone because they are gay or lesbian.
There are 21 states that do offer such protections, which leaves 29 that do not. In 34 states, there's nothing to prevent a person from getting fired if they are transgendered.
Activists are working to change that. Witherington points to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act working its way through a Senate committee, calling now a "crucial moment" for politicians to change federal policy.
The measure has 53 cosponsors, short of the 60 votes that bills typically need nowadays to pass if it's opposed by the Republican minority. If it does pass, it would then have to be passed in the GOP-led House of Representatives.
Selisse Berry, the founder and CEO of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, says she's "very hopeful" a bill that includes protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people will pass. The larger movement in the society is a big reason why, she says.
"Any time people get to know us as human beings, it makes a huge difference," Berry said. "More and more people, all the time, are coming out. When that person has a relationship with others, it moves the dial forward."
Washington could take its cue from corporate America. On their own accord, most Fortune 500 companies already bar gays, lesbians and transgendered from being treated any differently than any other employee.
Why? Because they realize the importance of retaining the best people who perform well on the job, irrelevant of their sexual identity, according to Berry.
"It's about the bottom line, essentially," she says.
Activist: Gay rights' causes 'not insurmountable'
Other issues are on LGBT advocates' agenda as well.
They want immigration reform measures being mulled in the Senate and House, for instance, to treat same-sex partners much like heterosexual spouses.
They want safer schools, so youngsters aren't threatened, hurt or otherwise victimized.
And they are also mindful that transgendered people have "not seen as many gains as the gay and lesbian portion of our community," says Cole-Schwartz of the Human Rights Campaign.
"The way the media talks about transgendered people is in terms of violence and suicide rates, but those aren't the only stories," adds Cruz, noting that parts of America still don't know or understand them.
In other words, even after Wednesday's Supreme Court decisions, there's a lot that these activists' still want to do.
And to do it, Huckaby says, means harnessing "the collective energy" of people of all sexual persuasions who share the same values. That kind of movement could take place not just in the halls of Congress, but in stores and coffee shops on Main Street.
"I know the power that there is in individual messages from the people who are willing to speak out," said Huckaby, who grew up in Louisiana and has seven siblings -- three of whom are homosexual, like he is, and four of whom are straight. "These (challenges) are not insurmountable."
T.J. Williams is eager to put himself out there, partner with others, work hard and make an impact.
In his last year at Garrett Theological Seminary, he is working to combat poverty, address gun violence afflicting parts of Chicago and promote fair education.