The Raleigh News & Observer argues in an editorial:

And though Republicans claim to be the party of small government, this amendment in fact represents big government. Because of conservative desires to regulate personal behavior, it flies in the face of the right to equal protection under the law.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the amendment isn’t a big government issue.  The amendment isn’t expanding the reach of government.  In fact, it is clarifying that government won’t be expanded, and specifically it won’t be expanded to provide marriage licenses to gay people.

In the marriage amendment debate, the underlying problem for gays is the institution of marriage itself in this country.  Marriage is not simply being able to get married in a ceremony and two people agreeing to spend their lives with each other.  If it were, gays already would have the same rights as everyone else.  Instead, marriage has become about government-benefits (and other benefits, such as societal recognition) that arise from receiving a government-issued marriage license.

My colleague Dr. Roy Cordato wrote about the marriage and state dynamic here.

Here’s a thoughtful article in the Freeman by Wendy McElroy also discussing the state role in marriage.