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Marriage Equality: THE Best Reason to Celebrate on July 4th

06/18/2014 11:07 pm ET | Updated Aug 18, 2014
  • Matthew Chapman Writer/director, 'The Ledge'; Author, Trials of the Monkey'; President, ScienceDebate.org

If I had to say what was the best thing that's happened in the entire world in the last 10 years, it would be the arrival of gay marriage in America.

I don't say this because I was raised with a gay couple very present in my life from the age of four on and saw the suffering caused by homophobia up close, nor because marriage equality is obviously right, nor because gay marriage is something I've advocated for 30 years. In a way it doesn't even have to do with gay marriage per se.

No, it's that I've never seen the forces of regression (conservatives, Republicans, fundamentalists, whatever) change so fast, or at least get overwhelmed so fast by culture, by changes in the middle and moderate right, by simple decency outweighing dogma. Of course there is still resistance in many places and there will be setbacks, but it feels like something that will soon seem as natural and unchangeable as women having the vote.

If a form of hatred as ingrained as homophobia, with so much religious opprobrium inflaming it, can, after a so relatively (historically speaking) short battle suddenly be doused in a country as religious as this, then anything is possible anywhere. What other changes might happen? Conservative hatred of women (their fight against equal pay, equal respect, health, etc., etc., etc., etc.) might diminish, or attitudes to guns or execution might change, or race, or income inequality and consequent poverty, or climate change, or the legalization of political corruption by the Supreme Court -- any one of these things might suddenly yield to civilization, to evidence, to intelligence, to humanity, to basic decency! The planet might survive!

I'm going to be in England on July 4th, but gay marriage in America and all that it symbolizes will be the reason why I'll celebrate the holiday there with pride and hope.