Every 2016 presidential hopeful will undoubtedly have something to say when the Supreme Court issues its decision on gay marriage. But two candidates actually could affect implementation of the ruling if it legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide. That's because Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Ohio Gov. John Kasich lead two of the 13 states where gay marriage is not yet legal, and they could have an opportunity to define themselves against their 2016 rivals on the issue.
Neither governor would be able to do anything to stop same-sex marriage in their state if the Court rules it is a constitutional right. But they could take actions to speed up or delay implementation of the ruling—actions that would surely become a topic of the presidential campaign over the next year.
"I think there will be extra pressure on [Kasich] to respond swiftly, whereas for Jindal, obviously his politics are a little bit different than Ohio," said Sarah Warbelow, the legal director for the pro-gay marriage Human Rights Campaign. Because of Louisiana's more conservative political environment, Warbelow said, "Jindal's got wiggle room for shenanigans."
Such "wiggle room" would set Jindal apart in the GOP presidential field: Gay marriage already is the law of the land for the other governors in the presidential race, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, meaning Jindal would be the only one able to act to delay a policy that Republican primary voters oppose. But such a move would put the governor on the wrong side of national opinion: 60 percent of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be legal, according to a May Gallup poll.