In his March 16 epistle (“Welcome to Marriage Wars of 2012”), columnist Bill Nemitz, self-appointed guardian of public morality, takes to task Carroll Conley, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, for pointing out that, “It’s a significant public policy change — if we redefine marriage, those are the types of things that have to be fleshed out.”

Allow me to flesh out just three of many “types of things” — unintended but foreseeable consequences — that can and have occurred once the camel gets its nose under the tent: In 2006 Boston Catholic Charities ended its century-old adoption and foster care services when faced with denial of a state license if it did not agree to place children in gay parents’ homes; in 2002 the Swedish Constitution was amended to criminalize criticism of homosexuality; in Canada Hugh Owens took out an ad in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix which read: “Romans 1:26; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 and I Corinthians 6:9” — that’s the entire ad. Owens and the paper were fined $9,000 for “exposing homosexuals to hatred and ridicule.”

This is Nemitz’s own carefully worded interpretation of the same-sex marriage referendum: “Under the proposed law, what you do inside your church is, was and always will be your business.” So saith the oracle.

In other words, shut up and worship God in the privacy of your church, much like the early Christians worshipped in the underground catacombs of Rome. Expressing your religious beliefs in the public square could get you a heavy fine and six months in the slammer — even nailed to a cross.

And who decides whether your expression is religious or secular? The same unbiased press which brings you all the “news” that’s print to fit.

Can’t happen here? Would the Press Herald accept Owens’ ad today?

Not the end of Western civilization, but we’re getting there.

Walter J. Eno is a resident of Scarborough.