To GOP, gay marriage stand is an embarrassment they'd like to forget

It's worth noting -- as a sign of the times if nothing else -- that both Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter have expressed support for allowing gay Georgians the right to marry. As Nunn put it in the debate in Perry this week, ""I have said throughout this campaign that I believe that all people should have the same right as my husband and I have to marry. I also believe that marriage is not only a legal construct but a sacrament and that every faith tradition needs to be able to define marriage for itself. That has been my position throughout the campaign."

I'm not sure I'd agree that Nunn has been quite that clear "throughout this campaign," but she is now. But even more telling is the fact that neither David Perdue nor Nathan Deal is trying to make a campaign issue out of it. They are on record about their support for "traditional marriage," but in a quiet and pro forma manner. No talk of "special rights" or other nonsense.

That's largely true at the national level as well. The Republican establishment was notable in its silence after the Supreme Court allowed bans against gay marriage to be ruled unconstitutional in several more states. From Mitch McConnell, nothing. From John Boehner, nothing. In fact, the day after the Supreme Court ruling, Boehner was out raising money for a gay Republican House candidate who supports gay marriage.

Sure, Ted Cruz complained bitterly about "judicial activism at its worst." Mike Huckabee warned that if the GOP drops its opposition to gay marriage, he might be forced to leave the party, but he won't. Should they run for president, both men will attempt to leverage that position for support from the increasingly small segment of the GOP base for which it is still important, and it will be fascinating to see whether other Republican candidates allow themselves to be baited into taking similar positions. My guess is that several will not. As Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin and a potential presidential candidate, put it this week, "it's over."

And in another 10 to 15 years, right-wing columnists will start twisting themselves into pretzels trying to explain how the fight for marriage equality was won by conservatives defending personal liberty, yada yada yada. That seems to be how such things go.