For all our liberality, Britain still has a way to go. Last weekend – ironically, just one day after the International Day Against Homophobia – two gay men were attacked in a south London park. Then, yesterday, more than a handful of MPs lined up to resist government plans to allow same-sex couples to marry. The two are, of course, not linked; it would be fatuous – not to say, unfair – to suggest that they were. But both are symptoms of the same root cause: the sense that heterosexuality and homosexuality are inalienably different from one another.
Progress has been rapid; it is less than 50 years since sex between men was illegal and between women unacknowledged. The journey is not complete, but gay marriage is a step forward. Not just because it immediately creates a more equitable society. But also because, ultimately, it will wear away the prejudices of violent bigots and social conservatives alike.