Thursday, July 17, 2008

Seeing the Future

Gail Collins on the Massachusetts repeal of the 1913 law:

Back in 1970, when Americans were still adjusting to the Supreme Court ruling that people of different races had a constitutional right to wed, someone suggested to President Richard Nixon that same-sex marriages would be next.

“I can’t go that far; that’s the year 2000,” Nixon rejoined.

Nixon was a little early, but extremely prescient, especially when you think of the other things people predicted for our current era: flying cars, self-cleaning windows, 20-hour workweeks. An early 20th-century novel depicted New York City circa 2000 as “one huge garden, pierced here and there by slender towers or giant cupolas.”

It is very possible that we’ll be having a number of depressing discussions about gay rights over the next several months. Just this week we learned that California is going to have a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would bar same-sex marriages. And John McCain was unable to come up with a clear position on whether gays should be allowed to adopt.

But the forces of history are only on one side here. There’s going to be a long-term happy ending. Although I’m afraid we’ll never get those giant cupolas.

That’s okay; we’ll settle for a tent in the backyard for the reception or a chuppah.