Marriage is not an invention of the government, or of the law. It is not simply a contract between individuals, to be entered into regardless of the gender or intentions of the parties. Its inherent terms, at least in Western society- stability and monogamy being two of them called seriously into question by extending the institution to gay men and lesbians, respectively- cannot simply be altered at will by a court or legislature, because marriage is a pre-political institution based upon the interest of society in promoting procreation.
One thing is historically certain: the characteristics of traditional marriage have, from an historical and legal point of view, both clearer and deeper roots than the right of judicial review, in the exercise of which the Supreme Court issued its decision.
The essence of the ruling is this : the Federal government has now been forbidden the right to apply common sense, precedent, and the legal codes of a majority of American states as criteria in deciding what it will and will not treat as marriage. A class of individuals most of whom do not intend to maintain a monogamous relationship- homosexual males- and another class which, despite their intentions, seem as a group far less able than heterosexual couples to maintain a permanent relationship- lesbian couples- now have had relationships which fit neither the purpose nor the definition underlying the concept of marriage nevertheless defined as such wherever the emotional logic and lack of information characteristic of most Americans on the subject move a legislature to go along.
Or wherever a wrong-headed court system exceeds its legal jurisdiction and chooses to legislate that it be treated as such.
It's worth looking at the arguments used by the Court- if only to see how ludicrous the position of the majority is:
Justice Kennedy, for the majority: “The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples.”
Hogwash. The issue isn't that individuals are being denied any rights whatsoever. The issue is, first, the behavior upon which the institution of marriage has always been based, and which it is in the interest of the government to defend and promote- yet which the individuals in question do not, participate. On what basis, therefore, can their unions be defined as "marriages" without completely redefining the most basic institution of human society? Homosexual marriages by definition are not procreative; Justice Kennedy's logic is so flawed that a first-year law student should be ashamed of it. That a majority of the United States Supreme Court could be mustered to support it is nothing less than shameful- and yet another sign that it is emotional logic rather than sound logic- or the law itself- which currently drives the American judiciary.
Kennedy again: “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”
No, it's to recognize that the subset of state-sanctioned marriages in question are not marriages in the sense that the law has traditionally defined the term, and in fact undermine the institution of marriage by equating relationships which defy that definition not only insofar as the necessity of partners being of the opposite sex, but also in that they are inherently unstable and frequently non-monogamous.
I could go on, but what's the use? Logic isn't the issue, and neither is law.
The issue is the death of reason in America- and the Western world- and the ascendency of emotional reasoning. And today is a sad day for America.