This is a surprise. Are our conservative justices reluctant to make an affirmative ruling for civil rights, and so decided to punt?
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected calls for a nationwide ruling on same-sex marriage, a rebuff that lets gays marry in as many as 11 new states and leaves legal uncertainty elsewhere.
The denial today of seven pending appeals defied predictions. Advocates on both sides had urged the justices to resolve the issue following a wave of lower court rulings that the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage rights.
The rejection lets three federal appeals decisions take effect, legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana. Six other states -- Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina -- will likely follow because they fall under the jurisdiction of those appellate courts.
Those additions will bring the number of gay-marriage states to 30, plus the District of Columbia.