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Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline’s been hitting the books. As he explained in his Oct. 24 ruling in Oriola v. Thaler, the First District appeals court justice in San Francisco, Calif., has been busy figuring out the meaning of the phrase “dating relationship,” which, he noted, “is considerably more difficult than it may first appear.” So difficult, in fact, that Kline turned to the reading list from freshman lit, citing Aldous Huxley’s 1928 novel “Point Counter Point” for the proposition that “sexual intimacy does not necessarily reflect a romantic interest.” For the tech majors out there, Kline provides a pinpoint cite to the relevant passage: “He had such a pure, childlike and platonic way of going to bed with women, that neither they nor he ever considered that the process really counted as going to bed.” Of course, Kline adds, “a romantic relationship need not involve sexual intimacy.” For support, he cites — what else? — Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” specifically the “relationship between Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley.” In case you’re wondering, Kline concludes that the term “dating relationship,” as used in the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, means “serious courtship” — “a social relationship between two individuals who have or have had a reciprocally amorous and increasingly exclusive interest in one another, and shared expectation of the growth of that mutual interest, that has endured for such a length of time and stimulated such frequent interactions that the relationship cannot be deemed to have been casual.” As Hemingway wrote: “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

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