I consider here whether there are any arguments left that one might make regarding absent fathers’ obligation to their biological children once the fertility revolution that enables gay procreation is moved to the center of the marriage institution. I am very sympathetic to the compelling interest in marriage, but anyone who claims that gay marriage will not have a huge, unforeseeable effect on society is either deluded or in bad faith. One could well decide that the demand for marriage participation rightly trumps any countervailing considerations. I tend more and more in that direction myself. But let’s at least be honest about the massiveness of this change and our own ignorance regarding its fallout:
The facile libertarian argument that gay marriage is a trivial matter that affects only the parties involved is astoundingly blind to the complexity of human institutions and to the web of sometimes imperceptible meanings and practices that compose them. Equally specious is the central theme in attorney Theodore Olson’s legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8: that only religious belief or animus towards gays could explain someone’s hesitation regarding gay marriage. Anyone with the slightest appreciation for the Burkean understanding of tradition will feel the disquieting burden of his ignorance in this massive act of social reengineering, even if he ultimately decides that the benefits to gays from gay marriage outweigh the risks of the unknown.