At 10am (East Coast time) tomorrow (it's still Tuesday as I write here in Anchorage - we'll know whether the US Supreme Court has chosen to use the Constitution and its demands for equal treatment and state's rights or the Bible to move us along or hold back our nation's progress toward recognizing full rights for gays and lesbians.
In the DOMA case, they would have to strike down a federal law that doesn't recognize gay marriage and prevents married same-sex couples from enjoying the same benefits as hetero couples. But after invalidating legislation that was passed unanimously in the US Senate and 330 - 37 in the House, that shouldn't be a problem.
The conservatives are strong proponents of less federal government and state's rights. At least when it suits their needs. Here, a federal law negates state laws that recognize same-sex marriage and marriage laws are typically reserved for the states. So it would be easy for the Court's conservatives to defer on this to the states.
In the Prop. 8 case, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, again this is typically something states have jurisdiction over, so again, it would make sense to defer to the state decision on this.
Of course, it all depends on whether you see this as a moral issue or an equal rights issue. Well, actually, on those grounds, we can count on the conservatives on the Court to go with morality against equal rights.
As I see things, same-sex marriage is the future. We'll increasingly recognize that sexual orientation is basically not something that people choose. And that all the 'sanctity of marriage' talk is all religiously, not Constitutionally based. And as same-sex couples become more common and open people will see that they are just people like everyone else. Their marriages will prove to be as wonderful and difficult, as successful and hopeless, as heterosexual marriages.
So, if the Court rejects same-sex marriage tomorrow, they are only prolonging the inevitable and making a lot of people's lives more difficult. If they allow same-sex marriage, a lot of people's lives will be easier and happier, and they will also have to face the reality of marriage and all the work it takes to make one work.
I know there are many people who will be devastated if the Court rules for same-sex marriage. But I still don't quite understand why. It doesn't affect their own marriages. Churches won't be required to marry same-sex couples. The only thing I can think of that might explain their objection is this: their children and their flocks will be confronted with an alternative opinion to their stance on marriage. And that will be a rip in their ideology. One more biblical abomination that the rest of the world accepts - like eating pork and shellfish or doing business on the Sabbath.
For more of an insider analysis see this SCOTUS blog analysis, which expects that the Court might just avoid ruling by using legal technicalities about whether the parties who appealed to the Court had standing to do so.