Justices Just Aren't Ready for Gay Marriage

Impervious to the pressures of the news media or the gay-rights movement, the justices decided to let the issue percolate a while longer.

Inevitability hit the U.K. first.

Photographer: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Back in the dark ages in America, coffee didn’t come from sleek, fast Italian machines: it dripped, one painful drop at a time, through a filter into a waiting pot. This, my best-beloved, was called “percolation” -- and it provides the central metaphor for how the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to take controversial cases. Today's decision by the justices to deny seven petitions asking them to decide whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage was a classic example. Impervious to the pressures of the news media or the gay-rights movement, the justices decided to let the issue percolate a while longer.

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