Organizers for this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, as they've done in the past, made a deliberate decision to prohibit Republican groups advocating gay rights from participating in the event. On the main stage, attendees saw notable GOP leaders like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) proclaim that his desire to discriminate against LGBT Americans does not make him a "bigot."
But away from the speakers and organizers, it was clear to many that the marriage debate is effectively over, the right has lost, and even CPAC activists no longer seem to care.
Consider the results of the new Washington Post/ABC News poll.
I put together this chart to show the trajectory over the last decade, and the trend line isn't exactly subtle.
But the closer one looks at the results, the more striking they are. Among Americans aged 18 to 29, support for marriage equality is 81%, which reinforces the simple fact that opponents are not only fighting against social progress, they're also fighting a losing battle against a calendar that's indifferent to their culture war.
Indeed, even among white evangelicals protestants, 31% back marriage rights for same-sex couples, which may not sound especially impressive, but that total has more than quadrupled over the last decade.
Also note, history suggests movements on social progress rarely go backwards, and there's nothing to suggest opponents of marriage equality will suddenly reemerge and become the majority again. That trend line in the poll is only going to keep moving in a progressive direction, and there's not much Republicans can do about it.
At this point, the ideal solution for GOP officials would for the Supreme Court to simply rule in favor of same-sex marriage, end the debate, and take the issue out of the hands of politicians altogether.