David Cole is all for gay marriage—yet he's still hoping that when it comes to California's Prop 8, which the Supreme Court considered today, the justices will "decide not to decide the gay marriage issue at all," he writes in the New York Times. It all comes down to the public's reaction: Consider what happened when the high court struck down racial segregation in schools with Brown v. Board of Education, or legalized abortion with Roe v. Wade. Both decisions were the correct "legal and moral choice," but the country wasn't ready for them, and backlash ensued.
"In the long run, national recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable," Cole writes. "Public opinion has shifted on this issue faster than on almost any other social issue in history. It is only a matter of time before all state laws reflect that view." But we must let marriage equality continue to gain support naturally, one state at a time, rather than impose a court decision on the entire nation. That's why the Supreme Court should offer a limited ruling, allowing same-sex marriage in California but not forcing other states to legalize it. Anything else "could touch off huge civil resistance in the most conservative states." Click for Cole's full column.