The ramifications of the same-sex marriage decision are many whichever way it goes. One could tell that from the comments and questions from the bench on Tuesday. However, the legal principle involved is very straightforward. And in deciding the case, the Court will be making a statement about the Court itself that will be even more far-reaching than the decision.
The legal question is whether the Court should follow legal precedent, so well established that it has never been seriously challenged up until now, or whether the Court should change with the times and make decisions based upon what it perceives those changes to be. The old-precedent-versus-evolving-Constitution argument has been with us for some time, but with the liberal interpretation always giving lip service to precedent, too. With the marriage case, however, there can be no avoiding what is really going on. The issue is too clear to sustain the usual word games.