February 18, 2004


Kevin Drum links to a story about a San Francisco judge delaying a ruling on gay marriage until the plaintiffs change a semicolon in their brief.* Some thoughts:

(1) The LA Times story says, "'I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal That semicolon is a big deal,' Warren told attorneys, according to an account by Associated Press." Yet Kevin baldly inserts a period between the two sentences. Ironic!

(2) The semicolon really does seem to be a big deal. It effectively works as an "and" where the judge says it has to be an "or."

(3) One of Kevin's commenters, JamesK, mentions that he obtained a marriage license with his same-sex partner this weekend; I join a lot of the other commenters in offering congratulations.

(4) Another commenter, Chuck Nolan, says, "as one who was just very happily married, I...." Doesn't that sound to you as though he was happily married up until very recently? My condolences. [There may be an actual linguistic point lurking in the vicinity.]

(5) At least one of the above points illustrates why one of my frequent commenters often tells me, "Nobody likes a literalist."

*[UPDATE: Or is it about the judge's delaying the ruling?]

Posted by Matt Weiner at February 18, 2004 09:17 AM