50 years from now it's going to seem incredible - and tragic - how much energy was expended on preventing gay people from forming legal unions.

All the effort it took to malign and scold and target and belittle them: all for nothing, idiot salvos against love.

And make no mistake, it is love we're talking about. That's why common sense is prevailing and marriage equality is becoming the law of the land. To the youngest generations of Americans it's a fait accompli - just ask them.

Not everyone gets to live in an era of enlightenment, but there's no question we're in one right now. 

Well, most of us. In New York judges are volunteering by the hundred to perform marriages for same sex couples when it finally becomes legal to this weekend.

But there are dissenters. Men like self-appointed Catholic defender Bill Donahue, for example, can't seem to tell the difference between being the duties of a religious leader and a public servant.

For Donahue, enforcing the law to all of the public is now a form of bullying.

'Now it is fatuous to say that it would cause an undue hardship in the workplace if clerks, and deputy clerks, who do not have an issue with giving marriage licenses to homosexuals handled these matters for those who do," Donahue wrote this week.

'It cannot be said too strongly: Bullying those who have religious objections is despicable. There is an obvious hole in New York's gay marriage law: religious exemptions need to be extended to lay people, not just the clergy.'

I wonder what would happen if these same principled Christians refused to serve divorces to heterosexual applicants, again citing their religious beliefs?

Donahue can't help himself. He cannot conceptualize gay people other than through a separate, diminished status that blinds him to the consequences of his own logic.

Under his religious exemption rubric, all governance could grind to a speedy halt under a new apartheid in state government.

Throughout his long career as a professional malcontent, Donahue has never seemed to grasp the separation of church and state, so I'll spell it out for him.

Town clerks are public employees. Their salaries are paid by the Citizens of New York, and their duty is to the public of New York, not the Vatican.