Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Wednesday said it is only a matter of time before gay marriage becomes the law of the land.
Though Hatch opposes same-sex marriage and disagrees with court rulings around the country that have struck down state laws banning it, he said people have to accept the inevitable.
Utah became one of the first states to have its gay marriage ban struck down in December after the Supreme Court found parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Since then, dozens of courts around the country have made similar moves. The Utah ruling is currently being appealed, and the Supreme Court stayed the decision.
"How do you blame the judge for deciding a case in accordance with what the Supreme Court has already articulated?" Hatch said.
In total, 19 states have legalized gay marriage, and a number of other states have had their bans ruled unconstitutional. But most decisions have been stayed pending appeal.
Hatch said the Supreme Court would eventually have to take up the state question. Last year, the high court declined to rule on the merits of California's gay marriage ban, finding the defenders of the law did not have standing.
"Sooner or later gay marriage is probably going to be approved by the Supreme Court of the United States, and certainly as the people in this country move toward it, especially young people," Hatch said. "I don't think that's the right way to go. On the other hand, I do accept whatever the courts have to say."