In reflecting on the events of the past few weeks, I looked up three phases on the internet:
Watershed moment: "a point in time that marks an important, often historical change."
Sea change: "any major transformation or alteration."
Quantum jump: "a huge, often sudden, increase or change in something."
With the #SCOTUSMarriage ruling and the equality that it brings, we are witnessing a "watershed moment," a "sea change," and a quantum jump" in our lives, right before our eyes.
But I think it's even bigger than that...I think we are living through a paradigm shift.
"Paradigm shift" was coined by scientist Thomas Kuhn in 1962. Kuhn said that major advancements in science are not really evolutionary at all, but instead they are "a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions" where then "one conceptual world view is replaced by another."
We are living through a paradigm shift, something most people never get to experience.
There have certainly been others in our collective history, but none that I have personally lived through, none that I have personally experienced first hand, and none that I have personally benefitted from.
We can credit the activists and advocates that came before us, we can credit what felt like tiny milestones that gave us hope for change, we can credit the new administration for finally understanding the real issues, we can credit the new generation that has a much more open mind...we can credit all of us for our little pieces and parts.
There's been a paradigm shift and it is changing people's lives. We all deserve some credit for the landslide movement that resulted in marriage equality.
But for me it's not really about "marriage " and it has nothing to do with standing at a church alter and saying, "I do." That is a separate point.
It's about being an equal member of society, and being free to love anyone I want and to live a life with anyone I want...with equal protection and benefits under governmental law.
That's why I never thought about it as "gay marriage." For me it has always been about being treated equally and fairly.
It's about not losing my job or missing a well-deserved promotion because I am gay. It's about not having to worry about losing my children because they have a gay father. It's about being able to care for my partner in good times and bad.
I've spent most of my adult life with those fears...they guided almost every major decision.
Those things are gone now, at least from a legal perspective, and that is a paradigm shift. For me personally as well as for one of us.
Call it whatever you want, but it's always been about the basic human need for equality.
Despite some of the hatred that continues to spill, and probably always will, we now have equality.
That is a paradigm shift. And I am reveling in it.