Questions about the constitutionality of the federal statutes have been raised in a few court cases since gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts in 2003, but none required judges to rule on the constitutional issues.
Courts are governed by "a well-established principle" that they shouldn't make decisions on constitutionality unless necessary, Chemerinsky said, explaining Kozinski's reach -- some would say contortion -- in finding other justification for ordering benefits to Golinski's spouse, Amy Cunninghis.
Relaxing at home after a frenetic day of calls from well-wishers and warnings about obstacles yet to come, Levenson and Tony Sears reflected on the uncertainty surrounding their marriage as they wait for the state high court judgment.
"We'll never take our rights for granted again," said Sears, a 45-year-old photographer, who blames supporters of gay marriage for assuming that Proposition 8 would not pass.
"I'd do a lot more next time around," added Levenson, 49. "Gays and lesbians have to be a lot more on their game."