Before 1967, there was no recognized right to marry. States had long been the jealous guardians of marriage law. There had been battles in court over the meaning of state marriage laws, about how to reconcile conflicting marriage laws across different states, and about whether federal courts had jurisdiction to weigh in on marriage disputes. But the Supreme Court had never been asked a simple question: Does the Constitution protect the right to marry?
New York Law Review Online
Joanna L. Grossman, Rainbow Loving, New York Law Review Online (2017)