The dissenting opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts criticized the majority opinion, saying whether same-sex marriage is a good idea or not should be of no concern to the Supreme Court because it is not a legislature. While he agreed that there were strong public policy reasons for advocating for legislative recognition of same-sex marriages, the constitutional recognition of it as a fundamental right was not compelling. "The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage," Roberts wrote. "And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational." "In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition."
Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas both wrote separate dissenting opinions. Justice Scalia characterized today's majority opinion, which he refers to as a "decree," as representing "a threat to American democracy." "So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage, " Scalia writes. "It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me." "Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court." "This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves."