GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS,HOST: Some big news out of the Supreme Court on Friday. They took up two big gay marriage cases, one on the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to couples that are legally married in various states, but perhaps more interestingly, they took up the Proposition 8 case, which banned gay marriage in California, which at least leaves open the possibility that they get to the underlying question, whether gay marriage is a guaranteed right under the Constitution.
GEORGE WILL: As part of equal protection. Peter Finley Dunne, great American humorist, created a man named Mr. Dooley, who famously said the Supreme Court follows the election returns. This decision by the Supreme Court came 31 days after an Election Day in which three states for the first time endorsed same-sex marriage at the ballot box — never happened before — Maine, Maryland, and the state of Washington.
Now, the question is, how will that influence the court? It could make them say it’s not necessary for us to go here. They don’t want to do what they did with abortion. The country was having a constructive accommodation on abortion, liberalizing abortion laws. The court yanked the subject out of democratic discourse and embittered the argument. They may say we don’t want to do that, we can just let the democracy take care of this.
On the other hand, they could say it’s now safe to look at this because there is something like an emerging consensus. Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It’s old people.