In 1968, the year he was assassinated, Robert F. Kennedy predicted that in 40 years the United States would have a black president. It is 2008; he was spot on.
Since Obama’s historic electoral triumph, I’ve read that the White House doors are wide open to a marvelous range of people of different genders and ethnicities. However, I don’t remember a gay man or lesbian making the list.
I certainly do not posses Bobby Kennedy’s prognosticating skills, but given the American people’s willingness to change and to understand that denying rights to others contradicts the Constitution, I’ll climb out on a limb and make the following prediction: Within 40 years, an openly gay man or lesbian will be elected president of the U.S.
The climb to this summit may seem long and steep, given the results of votes on recent ballot propositions, which most pundits consider a tragedy for gay and lesbian citizens. Take a look at the results of these ballot initiatives:
- Floridians and Arizonians approved anti-gay marriage amendments to their state constitutions;
- Californians, who like to think they live in one of the most progressive states in the nation, approved Proposition 8, which strips thousands of same-sex couples of their right to marry; and
- Arkansans approved a ban on people who are “cohabitating outside of a valid marriage” from serving as foster parents or adopting children.
Currently, same-sex marriage is only legal in two states: Massachusetts and Connecticut. What will happen in other states, where the issue is certain to arise again? Where will the successful alliance of Mormons, Catholics and evangelicals that defeated Proposition 8 turn next? Groups in this alliance raised $40 million dollars and sent armies of volunteers to California. They have a paradigm that works. Will they decide to try to ban domestic partnerships state by state?