A Birthday Gift
September 21, 2005
I read somewhere once long ago that it is appointed unto men once to die; thence off to judgment. The author did not say anything about turning 50, a way station for the fortunate. Perhaps that is because at the time the forecast was written 50 was ancient and beyond the life expectancy of all but the blessed, who had little to fear of judgment.
Well, today I turn 50. I never thought it would happen to me. I am now eligible for AARP membership. What a day.
Here's my gift to all of you. I've been reading books on gay marriage. A publisher has asked me to consider writing one all my own, so I thought I'd survey the field to see what is out there.
Best book? Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution, Evan Gerstman (Cambridge Universty Press, 2004). This is as close to perfect as a book can get. Gerstman argues that the best manner and means to secure gay marriage is as a fundamental right. Claims under the equal protection clause, he argues persuasively, are destined to fail unless and until some court somewhere declares gays and lesbians a protected class -- not likely. Left to rational basis review, there will always be a reason to discriminate.
Gerstman deals sensibly with the forgotten Ninth Amendment and asks common sense questions about power, authority and why we have a constitution in the first place. Read the book, and then go sue someone in federal court. Whether gay or not, the freedoms you protect are, ultimately, your own.
Now, off to go think somber thoughts about the grim reaper and the manner and means by which I have frittered away one half a century.