Panic is a frequent guest at wedding ceremonies. “Would-be-weds” anxious about the choice they’re making are terrorized by the thought of life-long commitment.

Parents fret about the cost of the cake, tuxes, wedding dresses, and sweat at the thought of an open bar. Add Gov. Jay Inslee to the list of panic-inducing stresses that afflict these celebrations.

COVID-19 may allow you to shop with hundreds of fellow mask-wearing, social-distancing strangers, but that is not so with weddings. On July 23, 2020, Inslee decreed that weddings may not have more than 30 persons in attendance.

You may shop inside the grocery store for a wedding deli platter to cater the event, but even Fred Meyer himself can have little more than two dozen people attend his nuptials to the future Mrs. Meyer.

If we can safely shop for groceries, as we have throughout the pandemic, then we can certainly attend weddings using similar protocols.

How can a virus be so intelligent that it can distinguish between the inside of a Safeway and a Catholic Church?

It can’t.

But the government of Washington under the absurd leadership of Inslee says it can. Under these edicts limits are placed on attendance at weddings, funerals, in restaurants, and at churches.

What about protests and riots?

Do these events pose a threat to public health by increasing the spread of the coronavirus? On the surface, it would seem these kinds of events would be a hotbed for increased virus transmission. Not according to the governor.

In a report appearing on the NCW Life website on July 31, 2020, referring to large-scale protests in King County the governor stated, “Fortunately, we’ve got pretty good evidence that the protests have not caused a spike. The positivity (positive coronavirus tests) was like one-tenth of one percent, extremely low.”

If this is true, how can a wedding attended by a few hundred people be a greater threat to public health than protests attended by thousands?

It seems the governor trusts multitudes of impassioned protesters to behave more reasonably than he does those who want to see two people publicly avow their love for one another.

My son and his fiancée began planning their wedding more than a year ago. They planned on exchanging vows amid the alpine splendor of Ohme Gardens. This setting has been the center of the bride’s wedding plans for years.

The pair planned, and placed a deposit on, a wedding event that included 100 guests. Having sent out invitations, they were dismayed when Inslee reduced attendance at the blessed event to 50. Now he has lowered the number to 30.

These arbitrary limits put at risk the dreams and aspirations of a generation of young people. The nanny state is stealing milestone celebrations from a myriad of people of every race, color, sexual orientation, and creed.

Governor Inslee is sickening us, not by exposing us to a dangerous illness, but by denying us life.

Hiding in fear from sickness or death is not living. Life is dangerous. As with all serious dangers we act out of respect and mitigate the risk as best we can. We do not stop living.

I can’t prevent Inslee from purposely and carelessly ruining the lives of the citizens of this state.

I can tell you that my son and his fiancée will be married, and we will celebrate their union in a traditional and joyous manner.

Inslee can’t stop that.

Steve Piccirillo is a longtime resident of the Wenatchee Valley.