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How Will Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decision Affect GOP?

For politicians, some facing midterm elections less than a month from now, the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage leaves them in a tough spot.
Posted at 5:12 PM, Oct 07, 2014

For proponents of gay marriage, the Supreme Court's decision Monday — a decision not to to decide on lower court decisions — was seen as a victory. 

WISH: "Today is a huge, monumental victory for Indiana."

WOMAN 1 VIA VOICE OF AMERICA: "We're thrilled. We're so excited."

WOMAN 2: "We feel vindicated."

By choosing to avoid the gay marriage debate altogether, the court essentially made gay marriage legal in some 30 states.   

So it was a big day for those in favor of gay marriage. One that could provide momentum to the push for gay marriage rights nationwide.

For another group, though, specifically politicians — many facing midterm elections less than a month from now — the future is a little more tenuous.

Several outlets have written on the effect the non-decision could have on the Republican party, the party most often opposed to gay marriage — and there's not exactly a consensus.  

According to the Los Angeles Times, gay marriage is now an "existential threat" to Republican candidates — one that the party has "struggled to finesse" and has left them caught between older, more conservative voters and younger, more liberal voters.

And NBC suggests the issue may come back to bite the GOP, as while many conservative politicians have remained mum on the issue, many groups in their base have not.

Of course, not every member of the GOP has remained quiet. In a statement, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the decision "judicial activism at its worst." 

While Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker took the exact opposite approach. 

"With the Supreme Court's announcement today, it is clear that the position of the Federal Court of Appeals is the law of the land, and we're going to go forward enacting it." 

Meanwhile, Time argues the move by the Supreme Court could be a net positive for the Republicans, essentially removing a contentious wedge issue from the conversation.

Whatever the effect may be, though, what's more clear is the overall trend in support for gay marriage.

Citing its own polling and that from Gallup, The Washington Post notes an overall upward trend in acceptance of gay marriage since 2011. With support well surpassing 50 percent, it leads the Post to argue, "The fight over gay marriage is over."

And that has some pushing for change on the right. As The Hill reports, some lobbyists are working to convince GOP politicians to be more accepting on gay and transgender rights issues. It quotes one lobbyist saying, "The issue is losing its toxicity, from a Republican perspective."

Whatever path GOP politicians take on gay marriage, though, they may want to make up their minds soon. Especially if CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is correct: "Same-sex marriage will be the law of the land -- inevitably but not immediately."

This video includes images from Getty Images.