As we take the time to sort out the implications of the ongoing state-by-state attack on marriage, with the courts the primary culprits, I believe that most of us are still in the learning phase when it comes to the powers of the executive and legislative branches to check the judiciary.
Given the importance of the matter, anything and everything should be constitutionally explored to preserve our good inheritance for future generations.
Our federalist system was designed to preserve that inheritance as long as possible. When a state takes a blow in a manner destructive of its constitutional institutions, the federal government is most especially obliged to act.
We cannot lose sight of Article IV in the U.S. Constitution. Section 4 requires that the states (and the people) retain the ability to make laws to govern themselves. We read:
"The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government[.]"
This means, for instance, that an oligarchy of any sort is prohibited in the states. None but a state-by-state republic is permitted or guaranteed. And we know the word "guarantee" is a legal term, that carries with it the expectation of power and obligation to enforce the promise made.
The federal government is the body charged in Article IV with direct obligatory oversight, as an extra layer of protection to liberty, in order to secure the ability of the people in each state to make laws in their republic.
No branch of government anywhere, whether at the state or federal level, has the constitutional authority to impose oligarchical rule upon the body of the people. Nor does the Constitution tie our hands, or the hands of the chief executive and legislature, when the states are under attack. In its full context, Article IV, Section 4, explicitly names the executive and legislative branches as the chief instruments charged to provide ultimate protection to the states, to fulfill the purpose of federalism in the Constitution:
"The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence."
When it comes to judicially-imposed radicalism, the Founders did not leave us without recourse. The federal government, in particular the executive and legislative branches, is bound by contract to make good on the republican guarantee of Article IV.
We are designed to be a nation of law, not of caprice. And "we the people" fought a revolution against tyrannical caprice just for the opportunity to make law in harmony with the laws of nature. If we look more closely at the legal instrument our Founders created, we see that they did not leave us unprotected. All we have lacked in modern times is the election of individuals who are wise and courageous enough to uphold their oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
P.S. On the question of federal involvement in marriage, you may take a look at the Utah Enabling Act of 1894, in which Congress required the prohibition of polygamy for statehood. The Act fulfilled the obligation of Article IV, Section 2, to put the new state of Utah on equal footing with the original states. Article IV, Section 2, requires: "The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states."
Civil recognition of marriage between a man and wife is one of the primary privileges of a civil society. Inescapably, the federal government has the authority and duty to safeguard the exercise of that privilege for every state, in order to constitutionally "insure domestic tranquility."
For domestic tranquility's sake, the federal government maintains the power to oversee a singly exclusive form of marriage in all of the states, to thereby defend for posterity the natural obligations owed by parentage.
P.P.S. No matter its use, the word "domestic," Latin for "house," is inseparable from the idyllic concept of family life: father, mother, child. Even in the national sense, the word "domestic" alludes to family. As Webster's 1828 dictionary puts it, "Domestic . . . 4. Pertain[s] to a nation considered as a family." So it is that domestic violence hits us closest to home. I cannot help but think of Article IV, Section 4, in the context of abortion: a domestic violence in the closet possible place--the womb.