When coming out as gay is no longer big news

Jason Collins, a 12-year-veteran of the NBA, has become the first male athlete in one of the four major U.S. sports to come out during his career.
CBS News

(CBS News) From the passing of George Jones to Syria and the story we've just talked about, there was more news than we could process last week.

But no story told us more about who we are than the story we'll talk about on Page Two: The coming out of basketball star Jason Collins, who is gay.

Whatever else we are, however toxic and broken our political system may be, we are still an ever-evolving, inclusive people who admire honesty.

Of course there are as many opinions about this as there are people, but the news about this story is that it DIDN'T cause all that much news -- at least not all that much controversy.

Most Americans accepted it and went on about their business. My grandchildren wouldn't even know why it made the news.

Twenty years ago, or even 10, that would not have been the case.

Back in the 1960s, as a young police reporter in Fort Worth, I remember the vice squad spent most of its time raiding gay bars.

What a long way we are from that.

Of course those were also the days when Jason would have had a hard time getting his picture in the paper -- not because he was gay, but because he was black. We seldom put pictures or stories about black people on the front page, unless they committed a crime.

We've got a ways to go, but we are an ever-changing country, and that has always been our strength.

Jason Collins reminded us of that.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.