Last week I attended a first-rate panel on the Supreme Court’s gay marriage cases sponsored by the D.C. chapter of the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist Association and the Human Rights Campaign, with presentations by former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger and by Paul Smith, winning counsel in the landmark case of Lawrence v. Texas. I thought the best line was Dellinger’s, when he described the difficulties counsel Charles Cooper faced in defending the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. In the earlier Lawrence case, the Court had ruled that moral disapproval of homosexuality was not an adequate basis for legislation. Trying to construct a defense of Prop 8 that did not rest on such a basis, Dellinger said, “Cooper was left like one of those French philosophers trying to compose a novel without the letter ‘e.'” Yes, if you tried hard enough you might do it — but oh, the strain and the artificiality!