The Supreme Court justices' questions and remarks yesterday make it appear that maybe a nationwide blessing of same-sex marriage might not be the slam-dunk many were expecting. Justice Kennedy, seen as the swing vote in most controversial cases, expressed some sympathy for the states defending same-sex marriage bans.
But from a practical standpoint, setting aside for a moment the morality or principle of same-sex marriage, a ruling reversing the rampant trend toward same-sex marriage would be chaotic. It seems incomprehensible that the court would declare thousands of same-sex marriages null and void. Such a ruling would also strike down changes to state and federal laws and regulations, including IRS rulings that would affect untold numbers of tax returns over several years. Accommodations to same-sex marriages in a majority of states would also be reversed.
Regardless of morality, principle or legality, siding with the states that prohibit same-sex marriage would create an upheaval that the Roberts Court seems unlike to stir up.