There's another reason the bans on interracial marriage are a poor parallel with same-sex marriage: same-sex marriage is a new idea, while interracial marriage was possible until states banned it as part of a comprehensive post-Civil War regime to impose slave-like status on blacks in every way but outright ownership. That post-Reconstruction moral panic -- the attempt to enforce an ideology that black and white and yellow and brown were all separate species -- was long, but historically temporary.
Same-sex marriage, on the other hand, hasn't been tried before. It may seem obviously
just to many of us today, but that's only because the West's marriage ideology has been transformed by capitalism and feminism, from an older ideology of a gendered distribution of labor to a newer ideology of an equal partnership based on affection. Same-sex couples fit in today's definition -- but getting acceptance for that requires changing hearts and minds, bit by bit, one by one. That can't be accomplished by presidential fiat in a sharply divided country.
If interracial marriage bans aren't a good parallel with the same-sex marriage debate, what is? Divorce laws. Indiana passed the first radical no-fault divorce law in 1850, which became a national scandal until it tightened its residence requirements. Other then-Western states quickly stepped up for the divorce trade, including Illinois, Utah,
South Dakota, North Dakota, Oklahome, Wyoming, and finally the state most clearly ensconced in cultural memory as a haven for would-be divorcees, Nevada. The question of whether states had to recognize each others' divorces reached the Supreme Court -- repeatedly.
Over and over, for more than 100 years, the Supreme Court returned 5-4 verdicts that sometimes favored the out-of-state divorce -- and sometimes did not. By 1948, one Supreme Court Justice was so frustrated at once again facing the divorce question that he wrote, "If there is one thing that the people are entitled to expect from their lawmakers, it is rules of law that will enable individuals to tell whether they are married, and if so, to whom."
But the question didn't roil just the courts. No-fault divorce with remarriage rights divided the Protestant denominations for years: wasn't this polygamy, and wouldn't it lead quickly to legal incest and bestiality? (The Catholic church was against the divorce law changes; the Jews were largely for; only the Protestants were mixed.)
Is there a fundamental right to divorce and remarry? Not according to the definition of marriage that the Christian churches had promoted for centuries. But social attitudes changed, and so did the laws, eventually -- even in the states of New York and South Carolina, the two notorious laggards -- albeit with much pain for everyone involved.
State DOMAs and SuperDOMAs are not the equivalent of sodomy or anti-miscegenation laws. I don't expect to be jailed anywhere. Do I have a fundamental right to be married to someone of my sex just because I love her? I think that's pretty complicated. Transforming that from a new idea to a legal right will come only by changing individual hearts and minds. Given the obvious trend in rapidly shifting public opinion, I believe that all of the U.S. will recognize my marriage within ten years. But marriage equality advocates are only going to win if people keep changing their minds, learning from situations like the Langbehn/Pond family, not if there's some federal fiat or grand bully pulpit declaration that makes Obama-haters start grinding their teeth and fighting back.