After the recent release of a documentary about his life and career, fashion designer Valentino Garavani was asked if gay marriage should be legal. He answered: "For myself, all these years, I never thought about it in terms of changing the laws. [His business partner and longtime companion Giancarlo] Giammetti and I found our own way -- nothing conventional -- and it was always friendship first, always the most important thing: the friendship. I am neither for it legally, or against it, so I have no personal agenda here."
Not particularly political, this answer can't be taken as outright opposition to gay marriage. But to these ears, there seems to be an acknowledgement of an inescapable truth: There is something transparently different between two men who decide to spend their lives together and a marriage.
And unlike the most strident advocates of gay marriage, who spent the time during and after the Proposition 8 campaign intimidating and punishing those who supported the measure, most of us who oppose gay marriage are not looking to exclude anyone from any kind of happiness.
Carrie Prejean is now a face of that kind of tolerance. The contrast of her measured, mildly offered opinion to the angry, ugly Internet response from beauty-contestant judge Perez Hilton, who asked Prejean the fateful question, was striking. As Maggie Gallagher puts it, Hilton's Web video "reminded too many people of what they saw after Prop 8."
According to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, support for gay marriage has dropped nine percentage points from a 42 percent historic high. According to Gallup, only 13 percent of Americans believe that gay marriage would make us better off, while 48 percent believe it would be change for the worse. While Republicans were tripping over themselves to pose with the party's Log Cabin branch and join the march of inevitability, a beauty queen made it OK to confidently acknowledge reality, in a loving and beautiful and even tolerant way.