Dave Weigel of Bloomberg Politics tweeted: “There’s a whiff of media wishful thinking in this 'SCOTUS saves GOP from having to discuss gay marriage' meme.”
I agree with him but for a reason he has not considered. By legislating from the bench, Supreme Court justices neutered gay marriage for its supporters, but it remains an issue for opponents. In fact, I will argue that opposing gay marriage now carries no penalty just as supporting it carries no reward.
You are for gay marriage? So what? It is the law of the land. It gets you squat. The once hot issue for supporters is room temperature because you won.
But for opponents of gay marriage it is a winner. Americans understand marriage is between a man and a woman. A politician sticking by that belief will not be hurt. In fact, giving hope to opponents is an advantage.
This is similar to abortion. The pro-abortion Emily's List has a poor batting average. The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List has a great batting average. People know abortion is wrong.
You cannot legislate morality, but you can legislate behavior. Good, Christian people and others tolerate abortion and now gay marriage as a law of the land, but in the quiet of the voting booth, they vote their conscience -- and it is not as tolerant.