If Rush Limbaugh says same-sex marriage is inevitable, it's inevitable. Here's what the conservative radio host had to say about the topic on a recent show:
"This issue is lost. I don't care what the Supreme Court does. This is now inevitable. And it's inevitable because we lost the language on this."
In a separate clip, he says he would agree with gay rights activists who claim the "genie isn't going to get put back in the bottle" on this issue. "I think the inertia is clearly moving in the direction that there is going to be gay marriage, at some point, nationwide."
Does he sound begrudging? Yes. Do I care? No. If the King Conservative is endorsing the inevitability of same-sex marriage, then my generation -- the one demographers talk about when they mention the "sea change" in public opinion on this topic; the people born after 1981 who support "gay marriage" at a rate of 70% -- will live to see it happen.
That's so exciting that I almost want to end the column right here and now. Who cares what the Supreme Court decides? Rush said equality is on the way!
But then the question becomes: How soon?
And: What happens until then?
Finally: Doesn't this in-between part matter?
Those doubts are what bother me about a new and hotly debated Time magazine cover that declares, quite prematurely, and in all-caps: "Gay marriage already won."
"The Supreme Court hasn't made up its mind," the subhead says, "but America has."
The trouble: America hasn't.
New-York-America has. Washington-America has. California-America, which voted in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage, could easily overturn that law if a new election were held today.
But there are plenty of gay and lesbian people who live in states like South Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Georgia -- where far different views dominate the discourse.
Unless the Supreme Court rules broadly against California's ban on same-sex marriage, which seems unlikely to the smart people who have been dissecting the arguments, then some gay people could be waiting decades for equal rights under the law.
How long, exactly, is the subject of some debate.
"In Republican-leaning red states, which uniformly have banned gay marriage, few seem to be having second thoughts," writes Ronald Brownstein in the National Journal.
"For the near future, the nation appears locked onto a trajectory in which almost all reliably blue states will establish gay marriage (or civil unions) and possibly not a single reliably red state will follow."
Trajectory, locked. Awesome.
I did find a glimmer of hope, however, in an analysis from Nate Silver, The New York Times blogger and data wiz who correctly predicted the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.
Silver says even the reddest of the red states will change eventually.