From the editorial board of the New York Times:
Justice Antonin Scalia, who has voted against constitutional protections for gays and lesbians at every opportunity, foresaw this moment more than a decade ago, when the court reversed its own precedent and banned state anti-sodomy laws.
In the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Kennedy wrote that the Constitution protects “adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.” The opinion said it was not deciding the question of same-sex marriage, but Mr. Scalia begged to differ. If states may not use laws to express moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, he wrote in dissent, “what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising the liberty protected by the Constitution?”
The 12 years since 2003 have seen enormous social change on this issue. Before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage in November 2003, no state permitted such marriages. Today, 36 states do, along with the District of Columbia — representing more than 70 percent of all Americans. A solid and growing majority now believes in marriage equality; among those 18 to 29, support is at nearly 80 percent.
For same-sex couples and their families, friends and communities, this moment has been a long time coming. The justices have the power and the responsibility to give meaning to the promises embedded in the Constitution, and end the exclusion and inequality of gays and lesbians in America.