Supporters have often likened the fight for same-sex marriage to the struggle for civil rights -- slow going and full of setbacks, but certain to triumph in the long run. But for the gay rights movement, 2009 was a year filled with a string of defeats in Maine and New York. Now though, Politico's Ben Smith isn't so sure. Is the legalization of gay marriage really inevitable?

The same-sex marriage movement appears likely to end a banner year with a string of stinging defeats that opponents say have undermined a core proposition of the movement - that the acceptance of gay marriage is, sooner or later, inevitable.