Opinion: DOMA Repeal Shows Why Courts Matter

Gay marriage is going to be an issue in this year's presidential election and the Republicans better be worried.

The decision by a federal appeals court to rule the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional felt monumental, though perhaps not surprising. Monumental in that it will help dismantle overt and hypocritical discrimination that still exists in our nation's laws. Unsurprising, though, because the more our country's courts discuss marriage equality, the more we realize the separate-but-equal status of civil unions is nonsensical.

The Prop 8 battle in California, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the passage of marriage equality in New York, and the public coming out of more Democratic - and Republican - officials for full marriage rights for gay and lesbian Americans are all part of a wave that is proving more Americans are ready to embrace equality, getting more Americans comfortable with equality, and changing the politics of gay marriage.

In 2004, the Bush-Rove cohort contrived to make gay marriage an issue that would divide Democrats, rally the religious right, and lead to Republican victories. In just two election cycles, the landscape has changed so significantly that it's not that marriage equality a non-issue -- it's become a winning issue.

The country is evolving quickly. Public opinion has turned. Now everyone needs to get on board or be steamrolled by history.

Republicans had hoped to say as little as possible about Obama's "evolution" because they didn't want to reveal themselves to be less evolved. However, now that the Supreme Court is going to schedule its first direct confrontation with DOMA, there's no ducking. Romney will have to discuss the type of justices he would appoint. Obama can point to the justices he has appointed.

A historical moment like this reminds us that courts matter. Therefore, we must remember that elections matter. At times the parties may collude, at times the Democrats disappoint, and at times Obama seems too cautious - but when it comes to the Courts there are differences between the two candidates that we shouldn't overlook. And high profile cases - like deciding whether America will respect and recognize all its citizens' right to love and marry - will ensure we don't overlook the supreme implications this November.