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Gay Marriage: The Last Chance

“A Cinderella moment,” gushed a gay-rights advocate when the Supreme Court announced its two landmark decisions in June.  California’s Proposition 8—an amendment to its constitution—went down (Hollingsworth v. Perry), as did the federal Defense of Marriage Act (United States v. Windsor).  The New York Times saw a “huge and gratifying” victory for equal rights.  The Windsor case struck down the “odious federal law that denied federal benefits to same sex couples.”  The “momentum for marriage equality seems unstoppable.”  But, the Times concluded, “there are miles yet to travel on this civil rights journey.”  Well, actually, not so many miles—the Court, as a practical matter, established a national rule that participants in “gay marriage” get full federal benefits.

The question always is, Who is to decide?  The federal courts, for example, have made it pretty clear they will always favor gay rights.  If the issue stays in that venue, we know how it will come out.  The governors in blue states may or may not do likewise: While he was California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to defend Proposition 8.  Governor Christie of New Jersey, on the other hand, still opposes “gay marriage.”  Democratic presidents...

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