Is there any more damning moment for an advocate than when he admits that he not only does not know how to justify his own position, but that he believes it is so obvious, so utterly self-evident that it does not need justification at all? For the diehards, intuition is not just enough, it is everything.
But for the majority of the public, that will likely not suffice — not forever, anyway. It didn’t for me. In the months after that conversation, I found myself repeatedly questioning my own position, and found, after some struggling, that I could not support it. The best reason to worry about a change in how the state defines marriage was the fear of unintended consequences, of long-term ripple effects that could subtly but surely reshape society. But what might those consequences be? No one knows, or indeed if there will be any at all. Reduced to its essence, that fear is just another way to express one’s gnawing anxiety at the prospect of social change. It is an intuition about what marriage should and shouldn’t be, and I do not think that any intuition, no matter how strong or widespread, is enough to deny either a special classification or a set of state-defined benefits to a particular class of people.