That gay marriage went from impossible to inevitable in this country in such a short span of time is a testament to the wonderful suppleness of the human heart. Through this process we all got to witness firsthand how societies, like individuals, have the thrilling ability to change from the inside. It has been breathtaking to watch as, household by household, gay people have become human in the eyes of the American public. Their commitments to one another have come to be seen as real commitments, their parenting as real parenting, their love as real love. Our collective hearts opened and then the laws changed, in that order, slowly at first and then quickly.

In a recurring drama of our American social theater, the hot-button issues of one generation are often matters of common decency for the next. In one generation it’s acceptable to...

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