Not long ago, my 10-year-old son told me something funny his beloved science teacher Stephen said in class. I would be lying if I told you I remembered what exactly it was Stephen said, but that isn't what struck me about our conversation. My son introduced the subject by stating, "Stephen told his husband the other day...." He said it in passing, as if it were no big thing that a person named Stephen had a husband. No one would mistake my childrens' progressive school for the Valley Forge Military Academy, but still: My son's obliviousness to the notion that, just a few years ago, it was not at all normal for a man to have a husband, surprised and touched me. And my thoughts, inevitably, turned to the man who, more than any other, created conditions in which gay people have very nearly gained equality in this country, and in which their lives are treated as the normal lives they are. That man, of course, is Andrew Sullivan, my colleague, friend and arch-nemesis here at The Atlantic, who announced tonight that he is leaving us for The Daily Beast.
I am actually very saddened by this, not because we are friends, though we are, but because he is among the most talented writers and thinkers I've been lucky enough to meet. He also makes me crazy, and he's frequently wrong about a set of issues I care about quite a bit (such as in this post, about which I will write later), but that's not the point. The Atlantic, which is thriving and growing, will continue to thrive and grow, but he has in many ways made The Atlantic a superlative magazine, and he has invested his deep feeling, limitless curiosity and seriousness of purpose -- the same qualities that he brought to the fight for gay equality -- to so much of what he has written here. And Aaron -- Andrew's husband -- has taught my children some delightfully disgusting jokes. They will both be missed.