We are all going to die. Very, very soon. Did you know?
Apparently, the signs are all in place and the plague is clearly nigh and Armageddon is fast upon us because, oh my angry heterosexual god, the announcement has now been handed down: Couples who deeply love one another may now get married in California. It's true.
Wait, there's more. The couple in question might both have penises. Or they both might not. This is the crazy, terrifying new thing: It is totally up to them. Can you imagine?
Put another way: If you are a loving couple in this fine and baffled state, your particular combination of genitalia has officially been deemed irrelevant as far as whether or not you may hold a lovely little ceremony and enjoy a year or three of wedded bliss and buy a tiny condo you can't really afford, and then fight about money and who gets to name the dog as you lose that once-omnipotent romantic spark and rarely have sex anymore and eat your meals in silence as half of you get divorced in about 5.3 years and end up back on the dating scene, wondering whatever happened to your dreams. You know, just like everyone else!
Isn't that wonderful? Isn't that absolutely terrifying? Isn't that both? You're damn right it is.
Here's the problem: despite the tears of joy flooding through the gay community and despite the soothing gobs of liberal bliss pouring like warm honey over tens of thousands -- nay, millions -- of progressive humans worldwide, all of whom are cheering this landmark groundbreaking rainbow-colored California Supreme Court decision, seeing it as one of the most positive, hopeful shifts to occur in decades, the armies of right-wing darkness are screaming their dread, scraping their nails on the chalkboard of fear, rallying the bitterly faithful.
Oh yes they are. This is the bad news. As you read these very words, shrill cultural conservatives from Orange County to Fresno to Stockton are holding meetings in all sorts of grungy subbasements and moldy rec rooms and sterile Holiday Inn conference rooms, sipping watery Sanka and sweating profusely in their armpits and scowling like angry cats as they work to put a quick and painful stop to all this gay-loving God-hating nonsense, by way of an initiative on the November ballot outlawing icky and confusing gay marriage, by constitutional decree, once and for all.
See? Same as it ever was: One beautiful step forward, one giant jackboot back.
Or is it? This is the big question now facing the intelligent and sex-positive world: Can they succeed? Will the forces of religious righteousness and repressed sexuality and violent Biblical misunderstanding be able to pull one last Rove-like maneuver out of the hat of conservative hate? Put more simply: Are the farm-belt minions still sufficiently scared of happy gay people in love?
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It might not be such an easy trick this time. This is the good news. It is the twilight of the Bush Endtimes and the right wing hate machine is no longer the nasty Hummer of bloviated pain it once was. What's more, there's this pesky thing known as a $3 trillion war. There is brutal economic recession. There is environmental collapse. Really, who cares about happy gay people getting married when it costs 4 bucks a gallon to get to Wal-Mart? Priorities, people.
What's more, it was one thing for an uppity and slick San Francisco mayor to try and make a name for himself and enter the gay history books by allowing all those happy gay people to stand in the rain back in 2004 and get married in City Hall, only to have it all annuled by the courts.
But it is quite another when a powerhouse seven-member Supreme Court -- six of whom are moderate Repubicans -- of the largest and most potent state in the union says, hey, you know what? It appears we've had it wrong all along. It appears there is actually nothing the slightest bit wrong or unlawful or even dangerous about allowing people of the same gender to buy overpriced formalwear and drink way too much champagne and dance to crappy '80s power ballads in the Chardonnay Room of a low-rent winery up in Napa, and call it a wedding.
Who can argue with that? Hell, to this very day, cultural conservatives still have no idea exactly why they hate gay marriage. There is still zero articulation. There is a complete lack of fact or understanding and I have yet to meet a single person of any political stripe who can adequately explain exactly why gay marriage is so dangerous, or who's threatened, or how. Same as it ever was? Yes. Only now, their misunderstanding feels quite a bit less dangerous, and far more pathetic.
Meanwhile, the chocolate, whipped cream, ice sculpture, engraved invitation, lace, taffeta, silk, wedding chapel, tux rental, Elvis impersonator, wedding cake, folding lawn chair, large party tent, catering, floral arrangement, prenuptial attorney, divorce attorney, surrogate parent, and cutesy wedding shower gift bag industries are all simultaneously rejoicing at the prospect.
Think of it. Thousands of new weddings, a million new rehearsal dinner reservations, countless fresh registrations at regional Pottery Barns and Crate and Barrels, endless DJs replaying old Elton John and Celine Dion and Shrek soundtrack tunes. The sagging and desperate California economy is positively grinning at the idea, a grin which is right now going beautifully with the thousands of people already signing up for their ceremonies at city halls across the state.
Which means the only ones left still scowling, still bitter and miserable and unhappy about it all, are the ones who never understood much about love and progress in the first place. What a shame. They're gonna miss one hell of a reception.
Thoughts for the author? E-mail him. Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle.
© 2008 The San Francisco Chronicle