By refusing to rule on the matter, the Supreme Court has essentially ruled in favor of the plaintiffs who have won repeatedly at the appellate court level striking down bans on gay marriage around the country. The Court likely avoided the issue because, up to this point, there has been no split in decisions at the appellate level.

Report from CNN:

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for legal same-sex marriages in five more states.

The court refused to hear cases from the states — Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin — seeking to keep their same-sex marriage bans in place.

Experts say its refusal to hear the cases from those five states also means that six more states — Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, West Virginia, and Wyoming — could soon have to lift their bans on same-sex marriage, because they are covered by the same circuit appeals courts that initially struck down the prohibitions.
Once that happens, the number of states permitting same-sex marriage would jump from 19 to 30.

Many Republicans around the country have been trying to avoid this topic like the plague and push the focus away from social issues and squarely on the President’s policies. This decision, which wasn’t entirely fulfilling for either side of the marriage debate, will likely push the issue back into the forefront in some races around the country.

Supporters were hoping the Supreme Court would take the case and enact gay marriage in all 50 states. Meanwhile. supporters of traditional marriage were hoping the Court would reverse the lower courts and uphold state-level constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman.