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SCOTUS wrap: GOP in a tough spot on gay marriage

NBC’s Michael O’Brien: “Republicans issued varying reactions to Wednesday’s historic Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage, highlighting the party’s challenge in navigating an issue that has growing public support but remains deeply unpopular within much of the GOP… The dynamic spoke to the difficulty facing the GOP – which staked its identity last decade, in part, on opposing same-sex marriage – as political support seems to be mobilizing at a breakneck speed behind legalizing gay and lesbian couples’ ability to marry. In fact, it was just 2006 when former President George W. Bush pushed for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But times have changed.”

Beth Reinhard: “House Speaker John Boehner spent at least $2.3 million to defend the federal law banning same-sex marriage -- a cause dear to the Republican base -- but you couldn't tell from his muted reaction when the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. … Boehner’s cautious positioning reflects the squeeze both court rulings put on a Republican Party torn between its traditional values and a desire to modernize and expand before the 2014 and 2016 elections. Crusading against gay marriage, a timeworn Republican strategy to rally social conservatives, is out of step with polls that show increasing support for gay marriage, particularly among young voters.  The court also put congressional Republicans on the spot by demanding a rewrite of the landmark law protecting minority voting rights, setting up potentially awkward battles with African-American and Hispanic leaders that would reprise the rallying cry in those communities last year over voter ID laws.”

Reid Wilson: “Only 10 years ago, sex between two consenting males was illegal in Texas, six in 10 Americans opposed allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, including the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, and Republican strategists were actively working to enact bans on same-sex marriage on swing-state ballots because it helped their chances politically. Today, the president of the United States, along with half the country, supports same-sex marriage, one-third of Americans live in states that allow gay couples to be married, and the Supreme Court says the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a legal bond only available to heterosexual couples, is unconstitutional. The Democratic Party openly embraces gay marriage in its platform, while Republican leaders desperately want to avoid an issue that's now a political loser for them.”

Brian Beutler: “When the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments for and against the constitutionality of DOMA this March, Chief Justice John Roberts probably noticed a familiar face in the crowd — his openly gay cousin, Jean Podrasky. At the time, Podrasky found the arguments difficult to hear, and a little nerve-racking, no doubt in part because Podrasky was engaged to be married to her partner, and stuck in limbo until the Court issued its decision on California’s Proposition 8. Now that the ruling is in, Podrasky says that the magnitude of the ruling overwhelms whatever personal disagreements she has with her cousin, who signed on with the minority view that DOMA should be upheld.”

She said Roberts’ “questions were a little disconcerting, to be honest. He also asked a lot of questions about federalism, which was to me concerning.”

Josh Gerstein: “Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion in the Defense of Marriage Act case Wednesday didn’t make history — but seemed aimed at making peace between his colleagues. The four-page dissent, capping off a string of contentious end-of-term decisions, shows Roberts wrapping up the term with a call for collegiality, respect for the institution and a more moderate tone — even as he continues to drive the court in a more conservative direction.”

Antonin Scalia was not happy at all about the DOMA ruling. Talking Points Memo, National Journal, and Politico write up his best ofs from his dissent.