Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post believes the Supreme Court will punt on gay marriage.

Capehart, who is openly gay, noted in an appearance on NPR's Talk of the Nation that he's a “realist” on the issue.

“Well, a punt meaning that there's a way for the Supreme Court to allow marriage equality in the states where it's already legal – nine states plus the District of Columbia – [and] leave aside the cosmic issue of whether there's a constitutional right to marry for a later date,” Capehart said.

“[T]he punt is hardly ideal, but what it would do is that it would be the first step of what would be a two-step solution that makes the second step of full marriage equality even more inevitable. Because what ends up happening is, you'll have gay couples legally married in California or New York who would be able to then avail themselves of the more than 1,100 federal rights and responsibilities because then the federal government would recognize a same-sex spouse for the first time.”

“And so if ... let's say if I were to get married to my partner, we could then file joint tax returns which a gay couple in, say, Oklahoma would not be able to do. It would be separate and unequal.”

When a caller noted that surveys show a large majority of Americans endorse other forms of recognition, Capehart, also a contributor to MSNBC, said the “country has moved beyond that.”

“We are now at a situation where domestic partnerships and civil unions, as much as they've given protection and some stability to same-sex couples, that they are now seen as outdated, and that marriage equality is the way to go,” he said.