Becky Garrison writes for the Washington Post‘s On Faith that people who’ve dismissed the high-profile coming-out of CNN host Anderson Cooper last week as a non-news item are missing the boat. She argues that Cooper taking this step is indeed significant, making particular note of the way it further undermines the anti-gay claims of the religious right:

Despite the positive image that Cooper presents coupled with heightened visibility of other LGBT folks such as the pro-gay organizations from fundamentalist colleges like Bob Jones University who marched in this year’s pride parades, religious right groups refuse to fly the white flag. In their battle to return America to their version of the traditional family, they seem to be relying these days on disputed evidence to justify their views. For example, researchers and analysts discounted the methodological flaws present in University of Texas researcher Mark Regnerus’ study that was designed to prove that same sex couples produce at risk children. However, his study was praised by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), one of the leading organizations fighting against marriage equality legislation and a key group connected to funding this research.

As John Becker, director of Communications for Truth Wins Out notes, Cooper’s proclamation once again disproves the claims made against “homosexuals” by groups like NOM.

“[When] LGBT people―beautiful, happy, healthy, successful individuals―come out, it obliterates one of the most malicious lies made by the anti-gay movement: that lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people are broken, unhappy, and empty simply because of who they are and who they love. By coming out of his glass closet, Anderson Cooper isn’t just liberating himself―he’s helping to make his entire community more visible and bring us all one step closer to full equality.”

Garrison’s op-ed is worth reading in its entirety; click here to do so at the Washington Post‘s website. As I wrote last week, I couldn’t agree more with Garrison regarding the significance of Anderson Cooper’s coming-out. We all long for the day when a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity don’t preclude them from full membership in our society. Unfortunately, that day has not yet come, so we cannot afford to shrug off the news when a famous member of our LGBT community publicly embraces their membership in that community for the first time. Even in 2012, events like Anderson Cooper coming out of the closet are absolutely significant and absolutely worth celebrating.