Margaret Marks, of Transblawg, reports this interesting story of how a semicolon scuppered conservative groups’ plans to stop gay marriages in San Francisco (via SFGate.com):

    Two judges delayed taking any action Tuesday to shut down San Francisco’s same-sex wedding spree, citing court procedures as they temporarily rebuffed conservative groups enraged that the city’s liberal politicians had already married almost 2,400 gay and lesbian couples.
    The second judge told the plaintiffs that they would likely succeed on the merits eventually, but that for now, he couldn’t accept their proposed court order because of a punctuation error.
    It all came down to a semicolon, the judge said.
    “I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal … That semicolon is a big deal,” said San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren.
    The Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund had asked the judge to issue an order commanding the city to “cease and desist issuing marriage licenses to and/or solemnizing marriages of same-sex couples; to show cause before this court.”
    “The way you’ve written this it has a semicolon where it should have the word ‘or’,” the judge told them. “I don’t have the authority to issue it under these circumstances.”