Dale Frost holds the wedding ring he purchased for his partner, Mark Massey, before their wedding at the City Clerk's Office in New York. The couple met on Aug. 9, 2010, and decided to make the trek from their home state of Georgia to marry in New York, where same sex marriage is legal, on Oct. 11, 2012. Andrew Kelly/Reuters
William Lori (l.), archbishop of the archdiocese of Baltimore, acknowledges parishioners after a liturgy June 21, 2012. In September, Archbishop Lori hosted a meeting of same-sex marriage opponents to mobilize for the home stretch of the election, which in Maryland includes a ballot measure on gay marriage. 'The union of man and woman is not only a good for the couple, but for the entire community of believers and for humanity,' he told the gathering. Patrick Semansky/AP
State Rep. Maggie McIntosh (D) gives a thumbs up to spectators in a balcony above the House floor after members of the Maryland House of Delegates passed a gay marriage bill in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 17, 2012. In Maryland and Washington State, voters are being asked to approve or reject a same-sex marriage bill passed by their legislatures earlier this year. Patrick Semansky/AP
Zachariah Long (l.) and Edward Ritchie protest a pro-gay-marriage bill in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 17, 2012. Voters in all 32 states that have had a ballot measure about same-sex marriage have opposed it. Patrick Semansky/AP/File
Protesters against a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions chant at the 'Equality for All Hoosiers' rally at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on March 14. The Republican-controlled House already has approved the proposal, and the Republican-led Senate also is expected to pass it. AP
Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore speaks during an anti-gay marriage rally at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 15. About 500 opponents of gay marriage rallied outside the Statehouse to pressure lawmakers to approve a statewide vote on amending the constitution to ban gay marriage. Charlie Neibergall/AP
Pastor Keith Ratliff speaks during an anti-gay marriage rally at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 15. Charlie Neibergall/AP
Gay marriage supporters (l.) look on as former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore speaks during an anti-gay marriage rally at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 15. Charlie Neibergall/AP
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks in Waukee, Iowa, on March 7. Potential presidential candidate Mr. Gingrich quietly lined up $150,000 to help defeat Iowa judges who supported same-sex marriage, routing the money to conservative organizations working in the state through an aide's political committee. Charlie Neibergall/AP
Anti-gay marriage demonstrators pray and hold signs in the rotunda of the Rhode Island Statehouse in Providence, R.I., on March 10 as the Senate held hearings on a bill that would legalize gay marriage. Elise Amendola/AP
Actress Anne Hathaway, along with other Hollywood luminaries such as Martin Sheen, Jane Lynch, and Ellen DeGeneres, has signed an open letter to President Obama sponsored by Freedom to Marry, a New York-based advocacy group working to promote marriage rights for same-sex couples. Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Mo Baxley, Director of the the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition (l.), gets ready with others to speak against a bill to repeal the state's Gay Marriage law in Concord, N.H., on Feb. 16. Jim Cole/AP
Opponents of gay marriage rally in Annapolis, Md., on March 11, before the Maryland House of Delegates held a vote on legislation that would have given same-sex couples in Maryland the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. The bill was withdrawn before a vote could be taken. Brian Witte/AP
Susan Savastuk (l.) and Glorianne Leck, a couple for 16 years from Bloomington, Ind., joined several hundred people gathered at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on March 14 to rally against a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions. AP
Supreme Court declines to hear same-sex marriage cases, a big move that changes the complexion of American politics on a divisive social issue. If a candidate is out of step with his or her state, it could sway critical votes.
Suddenly, gay marriage is legal in five more states – Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Indiana – after the Supreme Court declined Monday to hear appeals from those states. With a month to go before Election Day, the inevitable question arises: How might the high court’s bombshell affect tight midterm races?