TOPEKA, KS—Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church and the man who is widely credited with forever ending the gay rights movement in America, died today at age 84.

According to biographers and historians, many of the facets of modern-day society that we now take for granted—such as the ban on gay marriage in all 50 states and the inability of homosexuals to serve in the military—can be traced back to Phelps’ vocal public crusades against the unholy practice of homosexuality, which he began in 1991 and which quickly succeeded in bringing efforts to expand LGBT rights to a spectacular and abrupt halt.

“What Fred Phelps accomplished over the past 30 years—from a federal constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman, to nationwide laws allowing businesses to turn away gay customers—makes him easily one of the most successful and monumental figures of the past century,” said biographer Michael Ammons, noting that depictions of gays and lesbians began to disappear from popular culture and the media as soon as Phelps began taking his powerful rallies against homosexuality from state to state. “Fred Phelps devoted his life to one goal, and he triumphed. This was an incredibly influential man who deserved all the attention he received. Think of the legacy he leaves behind: In the past three decades, homosexuality has become practically nonexistent in society.”

“And his record goes on and on,” Ammons continued. “Just take a look around today: Nowhere in this country can same-sex partners enter into domestic partnerships, file joint tax returns, or adopt children. The unmitigated failure of the gay rights movement is something that can be singlehandedly attributed to Fred Phelps and his tireless efforts to show us that this was an unholy behavior.”

In addition to his enduring legislative legacy, experts agree that Phelps’ religious rallies also had an indelible impact on the American social landscape. Many have pointed to Phelps’ preaching against the sin of homosexuality as the overwhelming reason why all homosexual advocacy groups died out entirely in the early 1990s; why nobody in entertainment, politics, or professional sports has ever come out as gay or lesbian; and why citizens who do venture out of the closet feel nothing but ridicule and shame, knowing they are perversions who don’t deserve to exist.

Many historians also noted that Phelps was an outspoken voice on pro-life and pro-marriage matters, and that the current zero-percent rates of divorce and abortion in the United States can be entirely attributed to his powerful message.

“It’s sickening to think what would have happened to our country if Fred Phelps hadn’t succeeded. Just imagining the sin and depravity that would exist all around us if people went out in public with their same-sex partners, or publicly celebrated that perverse aspect of who they are—it’s disgusting, and I’m glad that’s not the world we live in,” said Seattle resident Christine Smith, one of hundreds of millions of Americans who was touched by Phelps’ charisma and was won over by the influential worldview of his Westboro Baptist Church. “But thankfully, Fred Phelps opened everyone’s eyes to the truth that homosexuality is a sin that God will vengefully punish, and we no longer have to deal with any of those vile people enjoying the same rights as you or me.”

“Fred Phelps may be gone, but he will long be remembered for the countless accomplishments and successes he achieved in his lifetime,” she added. “I can safely say that the name Fred Phelps will never, ever be forgotten, and that his entire life’s efforts—his very existence—was most certainly not in vain.”