Apparently the New York Times is operating on outcomes-based logic. We're supposed to believe that our entire system of law is threatened by a state court's legally correct position? If being correct is "dangerous defiance", what does that make those being defied?
He's referencing the Alabama gay marriage case and responding to the NYTimes here:
Since the United States Supreme Court will rule on gay marriage in June, it’s easy to dismiss the Alabama court’s ruling as quixotic. But it raises a real issue: not what state courts can do, but rather what they should do. Because state and federal courts operate on entirely separate tracks, the state court’s position that it need not follow lower federal court rulings is technically correct. Yet if our judicial system is to function smoothly, both court systems must, from time to time, refrain from exercising their legal discretion to ignore the other’s handiwork.
Several states and cities are currently ignoring federal drugs laws and openly violating federal immigration law. Marriage is just one more thing.