Two landmark cases on same-sex marriage will be argued in America's highest court this week. Two days have been set aside to hear arguments, and both cases will be decided by the end of June.
Up today at the Supreme Court is a challenge to California's Proposition 8, the controversial 2008 ballot initiative that defines the act of marriage as one between a man and a woman. This case asks the big question of whether there is a fundamental right to gay marriage.
On a national level, the Supreme Court is also preparing to consider the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. If the high court strikes down the law, which limits the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the ruling could bring about sweeping changes to the way the military treats gay service members and their spouses.
Outside of the U.S., lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights vary greatly. Many LGBT citizens face violence or persecution based on their sexuality or gender – some of it state-sanctioned.
In Iraq, being gay – or even being perceived as gay – can be a death sentence. A BBC investigation found that Iraqi law enforcement agencies are involved in ongoing, systematic violence against homosexuals. Some were murdered by their own families in so-called "honor killings," but the country's government refuses to acknowledge the crime.
In Uganda, American evangelicals are helping to fund a violent anti-gay movement. As you’ll see in this New York Times Op-Doc video, the group’s efforts help feed an ideology that seeks to demonize and stoke violence toward LGBT people.