I don’t think there is a direction the future is supposed to go, but I sure enjoy it when it goes the way I hope. A snippet from my post last summer “The Sci-fi Explanation of Why Gay People Must Be Allowed to Marry” in reaction to the ruling on Prop 8:

The reason all of this matters is that human beings have never been granted rights because they are merely human. Rights come from a demonstration not of DNA or taxonomy, but of mental and moral ability. The reason Judge Walker’s decision is not only correct now, but will be vindicated by history, is that it recognizes the right of two consenting persons to marry. If we did bring a Neanderthal back, his or her rights would be founded not in the similarity to human DNA but in the rational and moral mind, the personhood, that the clone would have.

The battle for the right of same-sex couples to be married is, in the extremely long view, a fight for recognition as persons. Whether aliens, robots, uplifted animals, or cloned Neanderthals will be the first non-humans to demand rights, I don’t know; however, I do know that it is not a matter of if, but when. I just hope by then we have moved beyond mere human rights.