There are two ways to bring about positive, long-term social change: the fast one and the slow one. In the first version, statues are toppled, walls are torn down, laws are dramatically enacted. There is, forever, a clear before and after. It’s days like July 24, 2011, when New York state approved marriage. Or May 9, 2012, when Barack Obama became the first president to announce his support for the issue — an occasion that prompted incoming Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin to remark, “You will not forget where you were when you saw the president deliver those remarks.”
Then there’s the subtler version. The kind where you look around one day and suddenly realize that gay people have been building families and creating homes together this whole time. They’re your neighbors. They’re your fellow parents on the PTA. And they are totally the couple building an amazing new deck this weekend. For 18 years now, HGTV has been a steadfast force for exactly that kind of tolerance, simply by advancing the radical notion that gay people are out there in the world obtaining mortgages and painting their interiors just like straight people.