Over 3,500 gay marriages and, what, no hellfire? I was promised hellfire. And riots. What gives?
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Friday, March 5, 2004
I have been waiting patiently.
I have been staring with great anticipation out the window of my flat here in the heart of San Francisco, sighing heavily, waiting for the riots and the plagues and the screaming monkeys and the blistering rain of inescapable hellfire. I have my camera all ready and everything.
There has been nothing. I see only some lovely trees and a stunning blue sky and my neighbor walking by with her pair of matching chow chows as a pained-looking woman struggles to parallel park her SUV. Same old, same old.
And this is San Francisco, gay-marriage HQ, Sodom-and-Gomorrahville, debauchery central. We are supposed to be careening off the nice, safe road of social acceptability right now, welcoming chaos, exploding into a fiery hellmist of our own sick godless depravity and dropping off the disgusted planet any minute now.
Where is my raging apocalypse? This is what I want to know. Where is the social meltdown? The moral depravity? I was promised an apocalypse, dammit. What am I supposed to do with all these tubs of margarine and confetti and kazoos?
There have been more than 3,500 gay-marriage ceremonies in San Francisco so far. Hundreds more are just now kicking up a storm in Oregon and in beautifully rebellious little burgs around New York state. And, yet, nothing. No chaos. No reign of terror. Not even a lousy heat wave. Sigh.
Some homosexual couples have been married for more than three weeks now, living in utter godless sin as they drive their cars and shop and laugh and cry and go to work and pay their taxes and wonder about their dreams. Lightning has not struck them dead. The Hellmouth has not opened wide its gaping maw, hankering for some of the City's trademark Sourdough o' Sin. I am dumbfounded.
After all, gay marriage is supposed to ruin the nation, is it not? Induce actual rioting and civil unrest and shirtless anarchy as millions of stupefied citizens pray to a bloody pulverized Mel Gibson-y Jesus for redemption, as they suddenly begin questioning whether ogling the Pottery Barn catalog for more than 10 minutes might mean they're gay.
"It's anarchy," some guy named Rick Forcier, of the Washington state chapter of the Christian Coalition, actually whined. "We seem to have lost the rule of law. It's very frightening when every community decides what laws they will obey." Why, yes, Rick. It's total anarchy. Just look at all the screaming and the bloodshed and the gunfire. Run and hide, Rick. The gay people in love are coming. And they've got tattoos and funny haircuts and want to get married and celebrate their love and be left alone. Hide the children.
This was -- and still is -- very much the right-wing sentiment. It was almost a guarantee: Same-sex marriage spelled the instantaneous end of all that is good and righteous and edible. Insurrection was imminent, apocalypse nigh. You could see it in their eyes -- they could hardly wait.
Hell, even Governator Arnie went on "Meet the Press" recently and proclaimed, semicoherently, that he was actually worried about the riots and deadly mayhem should S.F. continue with its brazen lawlessness. And look. Nothing. Not a peep. Not a single rabid spitting demon to be seen. Unless you count Lynne Cheney. Which you never, ever should.
I believe I have been misled. I was told repeatedly in extra-glowing terminology by multiple raging Bible-quoting drones that The Good Book expressly forbids gay marriage and gay sex, and to engage in either spells imminent doom and instant social bedlam and there are specific verses all about it.
Is this true? Are there actual verses decrying gay marriage? Are they anything like those other Biblical verses, about the rules and regulations surrounding marriage that are making the rounds on the Net right now? Real verses. Actual verses. Verses o' sanctimonious fun. Have you seen them?
Like this: "Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take multiple concubines in addition to his wife or wives." (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21).
Or maybe: "A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be stoned to death." (Deut 22:13-21) Isn't that cute? Isn't quoting Bible verse fun? Ask your local pastor about that one.
Or how about: "If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law." (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10). Hey, it's right there, in the Bible. So it must be true.
Is it worth showing those verses to the happily sanctimonious and sneering Christian homophobes who are protesting outside S.F. City Hall right now, telling the gay couples what depraved hell-bound sinners they all are? Nah. Why spoil their whiny apocalyptic wet dreams? Live and let live, I always say.
(Oh, and while we're at it, God also really hates shrimp. Maybe you didn't know. Shrimp are evil, as are all shrimp eaters. Clams, too. Hey, it's in the Bible. You can look it up. Why the Right is attacking homosexuals in love and not, say, Red Lobster, remains a mystery.)
So, here we are. Approaching a full month after the first of S.F.'s marriage ceremonies, and nothing. The universe is smiling madly. The world is shrugging. Anonymous supporters from all over the nation have sent flowers to hundreds of loving gay and lesbian couples. As of this writing, there is no scathing hellfire. No fanged demons of destruction (Lynne Cheney excepted). No meltdown whatsoever. I would know, right? I mean, wouldn't the power go out, or something?
Maybe it's still to come. Maybe total screaming misery and unspeakable sociocultural collapse coupled with wanton bestiality and incest and the giving away of free anal beads to innocent teenagers takes more than a month. Maybe I'm just a little impatient.
Maybe Satan is taking his sweet time to marshal his leather-clad armies, watching as other U.S. cities get in on the gay-marriage act, listening as mayors and governors all chime in their support and say what's the big deal. Maybe Beelzebub is waiting for a big moment so as to really leverage the coming news flash, the special report, the sudden activation of the Emergency Broadcast System. Something like:
"This just in: Earthquakes rocked the globe today as giant fire-breathing bees of death swarmed the countryside, feasting on fat white heterosexual babies mostly from Texas and Colorado Springs and Utah and Idaho, as the institution of hetero marriage careened around the mad vortex of space-time like a savage drunken pinball high on black-tar heroin, just like the Christian Right predicted.
"Horrors bled into the streets, terrorists were spawned by the thousand, presidents openly lied so as to lead a nation into bloody violent unwinnable wars, thousands of Catholic priests sexually molested tens of thousands of children over a 50-year period without the slightest punishment, the environment teetered on the brink due to heartless government rollbacks as air quality and water quality and food sources were ravaged in the name of corporate profiteering, the economy crumbled like Jenna Bush after her 10th beer bong as hate and fear and bogus Orange Alerts ruled the land."
Oh wait. That was all before the gay-marriage thing. My bad.
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Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SF Gate, unless it appears on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which it never does. He also writes the Morning Fix, a deeply skewed thrice-weekly e-mail column and newsletter. Subscribe at sfgate.com/newsletters.