Right before our eyes, we’ve witnessed a profound change in the way that American society treats the institution of marriage.

Forget about the law—state or federal.  This is a cultural shift, and we need to be aware of the way that the shift occurred.

We can forget about the law, because one way or another, “gay marriage” is a done deal.  Writing on Easter Monday, I have listened to the arguments against the Defense of Marriage Act (1996) before the U.S. Supreme Court.  By the time you read this, the Court may have issued its ruling.  Or it may come down in May or June.  No matter.

The Defense of Marriage Act was set for a Supreme Court showdown before the ink from President Clinton’s pens had dried.  And anyone who has followed Court jurisprudence over the last few decades, and who knows the current composition of the Court, would have been wise to predict that, when the majority opinion finally came down, it wouldn’t help “traditional marriage” one bit.

The federal government may “redefine” marriage as a union between two humans of any sex.  Perhaps the Court will do this through an opinion that invokes the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.  Perhaps Congress, with increasing numbers of Republicans changing position in recent weeks, will draft and pass an answer to DOMA, providing that, for “federal purposes,” marriage will be construed as gay or straight.  Even if Washington intervenes in the most federalist way imaginable, it is only a matter of time before the states dance to the drumbeat that is pounding out of Washington and Hollywood.

If opinion polls are to believed, a majority of Americans are already following that beat.  It’s not just GOP leaders like Utah’s Jon Huntsman who are using the absurd language of “marriage equality.”  Today, large swaths of Generation X and Generation Y adults, even those who self-identify as conservative or evangelical Christian, have been captured by the rhetoric of the left, equating gay marriage with desegregation and the “marriage equality” movement with the civil-rights one.

Huntsman, writing for The American Conservative back in February, made a distinctly political argument when he noted that “The party of Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan has now lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.  The marketplace of ideas will render us irrelevant, and soon, if we are not honest about our time and place in history.”  Even neoconservative Bill Kristol saw the absurdity of Huntsman’s statement, noting that the GOP’s attempt to ape the left will only “earn the contempt” of both traditional conservatives and rainbow-flag wavers.

Huntsman added a moral statement that supporting “marriage equality” is simply “the right thing to do.”  I say “statement,” and not “argument,” because there was no argument beyond the observation that following the herd is right because getting Republicans elected is right, and we won’t get any more Republicans elected if we don’t follow the herd.  The ancient institution, then, depends on the herd’s current feelings: “Marriage is not an issue that people rationalize through the abstract lens of the law; rather it is something understood emotionally through one’s own experience with family, neighbors, and friends.”

Given such passionately articulated “emotional understandings,” you’d think each and every one of us has a family member or friend who wants desperately to be gay-married, so that he can finally visit his special pal in the hospital and rest assured that, when that special pal dies, he gets the full estate, tax-free.  We, like Jon Huntsman and Barack Obama, are being forced to rethink our stance on gay marriage because we know so many gays, and we can’t imagine looking those gays in the face and telling them no: No, you can’t have this pearl of great price that you treasure above all things—the joy of calling your exclusive lifelong commitment to sodomize your partner “marriage.”

In a society without recognized moral standards, it is impossible to say no to any request for validation from any self-identified group.  One stares blankly into a dark future in which the decades-long struggle of the transgendered—that hitherto ignored T in LGBT—to eliminate discriminatory “sexed restrooms” will finally come to an end.  The leading trannies will flank President Rainbow Kennedy-Pelosi as he signs the Washroom Equality Act.

The bill’s passage will follow a familiar trajectory.  Some two decades before, a Republican Congress will have passed the Defense of Gendered Toilets Act (DOGTA), and it will be signed by a liberal Democratic president seeking reelection.  Over the ensuing years, television and internet entertainments will slowly introduce transgendered supporting characters who may be a little different but have hearts of gold.  A shocking story of the brutal slaying of a male transgendered who only wanted to use a women’s restroom will dominate the headlines.  Starbucks will go on record as being the first restaurant chain to have exclusively unisex toilets.  Democrats will test the waters with polls and focus groups.  Republicans will campaign on saving our sexed facilities.  Eventually, one brave TV network will announce its fall lineup, which will include the controversial but hilarious Modern Restroom.  Critics will rave; by September, every other network will have its clone.  Young people who are accustomed to Starbucks potties will begin to say things like, “I don’t know what the big deal is.”  Massachusetts and Hawaii will pass laws banning sexed facilities.  Other states will follow, while Alabama and Arkansas will pass affirmations that men and women have always used sexed public toilets.  President Rainbow Kennedy-Pelosi will announce that, despite his clear campaign statement that he is not in favor of unisex bathrooms, he has changed his mind.  Why?  Well, his children’s friends use equal-sex bathrooms, and he just can’t imagine looking them in the eye and telling them that it’s wrong.  Serendipitously, DOGTA will finally get its day before the Supreme Court.

Oh, sure, it’s a silly sounding story.  I don’t even know any transgendereds, and most people I do know find them very bizarre.  And at any rate, no man or woman is going to want to change something so basic in our society.  Not even liberals want that.

“The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality,” wrote Huntsman, “and support full civil marriage for all Americans.”  After all, when equality itself is at stake, how can we say no?