With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on two related cases, there has been more talk about gay marriage this week than in the past year. Those who try to pick up on the court’s signals say the justices will probably punt on Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California. However, the questions they asked during oral arguments show they will likely vote to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act because under our system states have traditionally defined marriage.
And that’s exactly what the court will do, right? Those who remember the court hearings on the Affordable Care Act, i.e., Obamacare, remember how accurate predictions were there. Obamacare is going down! Right.
As the week wore on, the focus was less on the court and more on the rapidly shifting public opinion on gay marriage. A majority of the public now supports marriage for all, which wasn’t true just a few years ago. And the support among young people is overwhelming – most of them just don’t see what the issue is.
Even many strong gay marriage opponents seem to have given up. “This issue is lost,” conservative talker Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show. “It is now inevitable,” regardless of what the Supreme Court does.
But the issue will live on in one sense – it will be the problem topic for Republicans trying to court their conservative base in the primaries while still appealing to “mainstream” America, in the same way gun control is problematic for Democrats and their liberal base.