It's never simple with the Supreme Court, no matter what the headlines would have you believe.
It's not like John Roberts is up there banging a gavel saying "Marriage Equality is now the law of the land, so ordered."
The Supreme Court dropped a bombshell on Monday morning by announcing it won't hear any of the seven same-sex marriage cases before them, which means gay couples can marry without delay in Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana.
After the justices made their move, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the first appellate court to find a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, quickly lifted the stay on its June ruling legalizing gay marriage in Utah.
The move is also good news for same-sex couples in six other states: North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming. They won't be able to marry just yet, but they can sue for that right, and lower courts in each of those states are bound by the pro-gay-marriage rulings of appeals courts.
That would bring legal gay marriage to 30 states and the District of Columbia. For that reason, the Supreme Court's move is a "victory for marriage equality," said Erwin Chemerinsky, the Dean of UC-Irvine law school.
But the Supreme Court's decision to stay out of the issue is bad news for gay couples in states like Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee, which may now have to wait longer before they can marry. Cases are pending before the conservative-leaning 5th and 6th Circuits, which observers see as the likeliest venues for a split that could force Supreme Court action.
So, we all clear?
Yay, for people in those seven states...but the John Roberts kicked the can down the road (till after the November elections). Boo for those well-known hot zones of tolerance: Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Court will have to rule on this eventually, and (gasp and shock) go on the record.
You can read more about this at Talking Points Memo.
You can read, really in-depth coverage over at SCOTUSblog.