Pope Francis: The Advocate Person of the Year!

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In a sign of how far the gay rights movement has come, Pope Francis has been named 2013 Person of the Year by The Advocate, a prominent LGBT magazine.

"While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality," The Advocate wrote, "it will also be remembered for the example of one man."

Pope Francis, who has single-handedly sought to unite, rather than divide the Catholic Church and all of humanity, was named Time Person of the Year as well.

Pope Francis on The Advocate

The Pontiff has not supported gay marriage, but he has called for the end of the church's "obsession" with gays and abortion and said he does not judge gay people.

That, symbolically, put the finishing touch on 2013, The Year of Gay Marriage.

From statehouses to the Supreme Court, and from shifting public opinion to politicians' "evolutions," the year saw many milestones. The Pope certainly wasn't alone.

After all, 2013 likely would not have happened were it not for 2012, when President Barack Obama finally embraced same-sex marriage and went on to win reelection.

Last November, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington approved gay marriage at the ballot box, while Minnesotans nixed a proposed amendment to ban it.

Those victories would only presage what was to come.

Barack Obama Newsweek Cover

Early in 2013, a rash of lawmakers came out in favor of same-sex marriage. This summer, the Supreme Court delivered two landmark rulings on the issue.

The court first struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the government from extending benefits to same-sex couples.

California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, was also finally thrown out as unconstitutional, prompting legal challenges to other state gay marriage laws.

Will Pope Francis' message of acceptance create a similar domino effect?

President Obama is not really the first gay president (as Newsweek proclaimed), nor is the Pope going to be doing any NOH8 promotional campaigns.

Their stance on the issue have carried unprecedented weight and wielded significant power for social change, however. That much cannot be disputed.

Same-sex marriage:

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