The Advocate has named the United States Supreme Court Justices "People of the Year" for their historic ruling this past June which brought marriage equality to the entire country:
At 10:02 a.m. Eastern on June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court changed America forever.
In handing down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges — declaring marriage to be a constitutionally protected right for same-sex couples — the court immediately made the lives of millions better. That doesn’t happen often: Most progress in a obstreperous country like the United States happens incrementally. But with Obergefell, the Supreme Court wiped out dozens of discriminatory measures, scrubbing away decades of antigay prejudice. Suddenly, anti-LGBT states had no excuse to degrade same-sex couples, no legal rationale to deny them marriage licenses. The worldwide push for marriage equality was given an inestimable boost, as marriage equality rights advocates in countries like Australia looked to the Supreme Court for inspiration. And here in America, in an instant, gays and lesbians made an enormous step toward becoming equal citizens under the law.
In the days following Obergefell, Kennedy was lionized as a gay rights luminary. He is — but it was really the court itself that was the hero of the moment. Without its independence, its position as the ultimate arbiter of the law, gays and lesbians in America would still be denied access to the fundamental institution of marriage. Supreme Court decision-making involves a certain kind of sorcery which transforms an individual voice into binding legal precedent. The power of that voice lends each ruling legitimacy, and the prestige of the institution makes each ruling enforceable. It may have been Kennedy who wrote that the Constitution grants gay couples “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.” But it is the Supreme Court of the United States that made that judgment a constitutional command.