Obama publicly declared his personal belief that gay marriage should be legal. It was truly refreshing to hear the president speak out for gay rights on an issue where he is potentially far enough ahead of public opinion to lose votes over it.
There are a lot of opinions about the political impact of this. While I will engage in such discussion given a few beers, I certainly don’t see value or validity in any opinion on the matter. I have only one general sense, and that is: when people will look back 50 years from now at the fact that gay people could not marry, they will see it the same way as we now see the fact that women could not vote in the United States in a relatively recent past.
In other words, we are making some kind of progress. None of it is trivial (though it might appear to be in retrospect) but it’s comforting to know that I live in a time when we as a society are actively struggling with big moral questions. And all of it adds up to real implications for ourselves and our neighbors.
Of course, I’m confident that in 50 years, there will be newly “identified” groups of people whom the majority will discriminate against, either through the law or just through the way we talk, think, and live. I believe that one such group is robots. It may seem like a joke now, but I do believe that the growth of the personal robotics industry (or perhaps cloning) will bring some damn tough moral questions to the forefront.