Next year, a young man born in 1993, the year "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was implemented, will join the Marines and kiss his boyfriend goodbye as he gets on the bus for boot camp. He will serve our country alongside thousands of openly gay Naval officers, Air Force captains, Army privates and maybe even a general. Our military and our nation will both better places for it.
Like all the discriminatory laws shattered before this one, the arm of Congress's historic action extends far beyond the military itself.
Over the past decade, hundreds of companies in the Fortune 500 adopted policies barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and dozens of states and municipalities adopted anti-discrimination laws as well.
As millions of LGBT people felt free to put a photo of their partner on their desk or bring them to the company picnic, the reality of gay people in America was revealed to more and more Americans.
Stereotypes were replaced by truth and the personal became the political, with support for equality reaching historic levels.
With openly gay soldiers actively serving in the military, millions more Americans will have openly gay friends and neighbors and, now, comrades and protectors.
It will be their humanity that continues to bend the arc toward justice. The path to full equality for LGBT Americans is now clearer than ever.