A deeply intelligent view of California’s gay marriage ruling

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, I met Jonathan Rauch at my cousin Ben Wittes‘s big family table.

Aside from hanging around with that branch of my family, meeting Jon was the second best thing about that particular Thanksgiving. (The first was the turducken, which Ben made himself. Last Thanksgiving at my sister’s, I prevailed upon one of my nieces to dig up a recipe for turducken — she can find this stuff on her cell phone in a second or two — and she did. There were pictures. How to do it pictures. It was impossible to conceive of making it, so I applaud Ben every Thanksgiving, whenever we’re eating that same old turkey and telling the usual staunch lie, “I think this is the best turkey we’ve ever had.” Maybe, but Ben et famille are gobbling turducken, with which dull, dry turkey can’t compete.)

Anyway, Jon Rauch. We started talking about his work, which I’d read in the Atlantic and other places, and the conversation moved toward how few fine essayists there were nowadays, and how few were the places that one could read fine essayists.

I mentioned one long essay I’d read recently that had knocked me out.

Jon said, “Did you write to him [it was Ian Frazier] and tell him how you felt?” I hadn’t, I said, although I kept meaning to.

“You should,” Jon said. “We all really love to hear when somebody appreciates our work.”

So whenever I read something Jon wrote, I e-mail him and tell him that I appreciate it. But I’m doing better here: I’m linking you to Jon’s deeply wise and unusual opinion piece published in the Daily News, “A marriage of law and politics,” about gay marriage rights in California.

It starts, “You may have heard of judicial activism. Also originalism, minimalism and many another judicial ‘ism.'”

He goes on. Now, I admit to selective knee-jerkism — I don’t have the hours to think carefully and dig deeply about every matter that concerns me — when it comes to the right of anyone to marry.

It’s simple and I’m simple. I’m for it. And I’m loud in decrying those against it, against human rights.

So I’m so glad that Jon eases me with gentility and wisdom into thinking in more complex terms about an issue that seems so simple.  You’ll see what I mean at Gay marriage ruling in California is politically shrewd – NY Daily News.

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