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Why GOP reaction is muted as judge affirms gay marriage rights

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But Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican and a staunch opponent of gay marriage, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, and a several other top Republicans have offered muted responses so far to Wednesday's ruling from federal Judge Vaughn Walker. He found that Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California in 2008, is unconstitutional under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution.

Judge Walker, a Republican appointee, is now weighing whether to allow the state to move ahead with gay marriages immediately or whether to hold off on new same-sex marriages while his ruling is appealed. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state officials on Friday formally asked the court to allow marriages to proceed in the interim – a change of position for the "Governator," who had twice vetoed laws that would have secured the rights of gays in the state to marry.

In 2004, Republicans introduced 11 measures against same-sex marriage in various states, as part of a strategy to attract conservative voters to the polls at a time when President George W. Bush was running for reelection. President Bush himself railed against activist judges and backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

But the gay marriage issue, after years in the culture-wars limelight, may be losing its luster as a hot-button political wedge, writes Peter Dreier on the Huffington Post website. He points to polls showing that a majority of Americans have gay or lesbian friends.

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