WASHINGTON (RNS) The race to legalize same-sex marriage in the nation’s state and federal courts has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, fueled by an unbroken string of pro-marriage rulings since the Supreme Court first weighed in on the subject last June. As each decision strikes down state bans, it becomes more difficult for judges to ignore the opinions of peers who have found no constitutional basis to prevent gays and lesbians from having the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. That trend, which reached a frenetic pace over the past two weeks with rulings in Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon and Pennsylvania, has created an aura of inevitability around the same-sex marriage movement. Two federal appeals courts are getting ready to rule in cases from Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia, one or more of which could reach the Supreme Court. “With each one, it becomes harder for states to argue that these bans should be upheld, and it becomes harder for courts to uphold them,” says Camilla Taylor, marriage project director at Lambda Legal, one of several gay rights groups juggling multiple court cases.