Q: What do same-sex couples, the Maine Legislature and Tom Brady have in common?

A: This summer, they all won significant judicial victories that are worthy of our celebration.

GORHAM — So much of the news we’ve read and seen in the summer of 2015 has been bleak and disheartening, with violence, rancor and scandal seeming to dominate the headlines like dark clouds.

But the summer’s tidings have also brought us a few dazzlingly bright moments, seen most dramatically in a series of landmark decisions in our state and federal courts. These rulings should give us all cause to celebrate and affirm that, troubled as the republic may be, our governing institutions can still work as intended.

Three cases in particular have made this a great summer for the judicial branch. In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed marriage equality for all Americans. In early August, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court reined in our governor’s attempt to run roughshod over the Legislature.

And two weeks ago, a federal judge vacated New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s outrageously unfair four-game suspension.

While these rulings vary widely in their particulars and may appear unrelated, together they perfectly embody what our system of justice is meant to be: a guarantor of our fundamental equality before the law, a check on overreaching government officials and a protector of every citizen’s right to due process.

The June announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision recognizing same-sex couples’ right to marry is a ruling with truly broad reach, for it extends the guarantee of equality under the law to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals in every American community and every American family.

The court affirmed that the Constitution’s promise of equal protection means that the right to choose a marriage partner belongs to the individuals concerned, not to the state.

Though same-sex marriage has not yet been fully embraced in every pocket of America, in short time this case will take its place in the pantheon of American jurisprudence alongside Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which outlawed school segregation, and Loving v. Virginia (1967), which struck down state bans on interracial marriage.

August brought news of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s unanimous opinion that 65 bills that Gov. Paul LePage intended to veto had, in fact, become law without his signature.

Meant to be the final act in the governor’s petulant scheme to force an insufficiently compliant Legislature to, in his words, “waste their time,” these would-be vetoes came after the 10-day constitutional window had closed, as both the Democratic-led Maine House and the Republican-led Maine Senate informed the governor.

When the disagreement went to court, the cobbled-together and transparently self-serving nature of the administration’s legal argument made the justices’ decision easy.

But what makes the court’s ruling a victory for all Mainers isn’t just the 65 bills that are now part of our statutes. It is the clear assertion that no branch of government can bully another. Legislative leaders are certainly to be commended for their bipartisan stand against executive encroachment, but it is the court that ultimately put the kibosh on this attempted power grab.

Finally, it’s fitting that the Sept. 3 decision handed down by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Tom Brady’s favor was announced so close to Labor Day, as this case represents a victory not only for one football player and his fans, but for all working people.

Of course, with his wealth and fame, Brady is hardly a typical employee, but the basic principle of fairness that the judge insisted Brady is entitled to is also applicable to those of us who don’t earn our living in the NFL.

If Commissioner Roger Goodell can’t invent twisted interpretations of workplace rules or impose disciplinary procedures that disregard the agreed-upon tenets of due process, then no employer can. Even if you normally don’t cheer when the Patriots win, in this instance you have good reason to join us fans in applauding the result.

Our judicial system is, of course, far from infallible, and we have a long way to go before all Americans receive the equal and just treatment they deserve under the law.

But at a time when divided government at both the state and federal level often seems to render the executive and legislative branches unable or unwilling to work together for the common good, the wise and welcome judgments of the third branch throughout this summer are worthy of our acknowledgment and appreciation.