Gay marriage may be routine in Massachusetts, but it remains unthinkable in Oklahoma. Thirty-three states ban it, by statute or by constitutional amendment — many of which were adopted by referendum in the past dozen years. …

They also explain why even supporters of gay marriage might not want the Supreme Court to precipitate the matter.

A ruling that the Constitution prohibits defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman would be one of the most activist in history, sweeping aside dozens of democratically enacted state and federal laws. …

It does so at a time when democratic politics appear to offer advocates of same-sex marriage opportunities not available to, say, opponents of segregation at the time of Brown. Indeed, the political momentum behind marriage equality is so strong that its ultimate victory seems, if not inevitable, then nearly so. Even in the South, support for gay marriage is 14 percentage points higher than it was a decade ago, according to Pew. Political reality, in this case, may counsel judicial restraint.