I never thought I would live to see the day when gay marriage would be considered a good thing by those who believe in the importance to society of family stability.
I am happy to know that it looks like I made it.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down sodomy laws as an invasion of privacy and a weapon of harassment produced a lot of talk.
Some of it was predictable doomsday bluster: This decision will certainly also require the legalization of polygamy, incest, pedophilia and bestiality.
But more thoughtful commentary suggests that if gay marriage is the direct result of this Supreme Court decision, the American family, an institution under siege, might actually benefit.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissent, said that the court had removed from the people their right to create community standards for themselves.
However, there are commentators who suggest the decision will not only reduce general mean-spiritedness in a community, but might also improve that community by providing more of its basic building block - the stable family unit.
Those sound like pretty good community standards to me.
There is no doubt that the institution of heterosexual marriage is in trouble.
Young men, and young women, are postponing marriage in favor of careers and personal freedoms. Those who do marry end up divorced more than half the time.
And nearly every juvenile misfortune - from bad grades to unwed pregnancy to drug abuse and automobile death - is attributed to divorce or single parenthood.
Therefore, how can we reasonably shun any two people who are willing to commit to fidelity, the kids and the stabilizing influence of Rockwellian family traditions?
Why, as E.J. Dionne Jr. wrote in The Washington Post, would anyone think that "discriminating against our nation's gay minority is a useful way to uphold family values?"
In other words, we aren't going to strengthen our own families by persecuting families of another description.
"The overwhelming majority of spouses who leave their marriages do so for reasons having nothing to do with society's growing acceptance of homosexuals as good citizens worthy of our respect," he wrote.
Dionne is a proud liberal, but crusty conservative William Safire made a similar point in The New York Times.
He, too, lamented the state of heterosexual marriage and suggested that successful gay unions would provoke a kind of competition in stable family life.
"Rather than wring our hands and cry `abomination!' believers in family values should take up the challenge and repair our own houses.
"I used to fret about same-sex marriage. Maybe competition from responsible gays would revive opposite-sex marriage," he wrote.
(That is a distinctly American response: Let's make it a competition. The winner gets what? An escape weekend for two at a fabulous resort? Or a U.S. savings bond?)
But Andrew Sullivan, who is gay, makes the most compelling case in Time magazine.
Homosexual young people have grown up without any vision of - or any hope for - a family life. There was no material from which to spin fantasies of falling in love, throwing a big family wedding, buying a house, raising kids and growing old together.
What must that be like?
"When I looked forward, I saw nothing but emptiness and loneliness. No wonder it was hard to connect sex with love and commitment," he writes.
If the possibility of gay marriage existed, he argues, homosexual teens could look toward a socially accepted structure on which to build their lives.
And isn't that what we want for all our children?
Isn't the goal of marriage the domestication of both sexes for the care and raising of the next generation?
Shouldn't two adults of any description be permitted to enter into a civil partnership with all the rights, privileges and obligations that come with that commitment?
The churches can bless that union or not, as they see fit, but shouldn't the children of that household receive equal protection under our laws?
Even now, there are many versions of the American family: the intact family, the blended family, the adoptive family, the foster family, the extended family, the gay family.
How can you tell which families are the good families, the right kind of families?
I suggest we wait 30 years, and see how the kids are doing.