Gay marriage in America

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear two cases concerning marriage equality for same-sex couples, a look at the legal battles and the controversies over gay marriage in the United States.

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Chicago. The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that could be a major political victory for advocates of same-sex unions. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Chicago. The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that could be a major political victory for advocates of same-sex unions. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

This photo taken Feb. 8, 2013, shows Sandy Stier, left, and Kris Perry, the couple at the center of the Supreme Court's consideration of gay marriage, at their home in Berkeley, Calif. Whatever the outcome of their momentous case, Perry and Stier, who have been together 13 years, will be empty-nesters as the last of their children will heads off to college. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

This photo taken Feb. 8, 2013, shows Sandy Stier, left, and Kris Perry, the couple at the center of the Supreme Court's consideration of gay marriage, at their home in Berkeley, Calif. Whatever the outcome of their momentous case, Perry and Stier, who have been together 13 years, will be empty-nesters as the last of their children will heads off to college. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Darcia Anthony, left, and her partner, Danielle Williams, chat before participating in a marriage ceremony at City Hall in Baltimore, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Same-sex couples in Maryland are now legally permitted to marry under a new law that went into effect after midnight on Tuesday. Maryland is the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to approve same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Same-sex marriage

Shehan Welihinda, left, and Ryan Wilson react after participating in a marriage ceremony at City Hall in Baltimore, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. Same-sex couples in Maryland are now legally permitted to marry under a new law that went into effect after midnight on Tuesday. Maryland is the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to approve same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Steven Jones, left, and Jamous Lizotte wear laurel wreaths as they arrive at City Hall to obtain a marriage license, Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Portland, Maine. Same-sex couples in Maine will be allowed to marry as a new law goes into effect at 12:01 AM Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

gay vote

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Nancy Monahan, right, wears her dress uniform as she leans to kiss her soon-to-be bride Deb Needham while they wait at Seattle City Hall to become among the first gay couples to legally wed in Washington state, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Seattle. The couple is from Renton, Wash. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage Dec. 5 and weddings for gay and lesbian couples began in Washington on Sunday, following the three-day waiting period after marriage licenses were issued earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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Whitney Young, left, embraces her partner Marlena Blonsky as they listen to speeches at an election watch party for proponents of Referendum 74, which would uphold the state's new same-sex marriage law, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Gay marriage in America

A man checks his mobile phone as civil unions supporters rally in downtown Denver before the Colorado House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Colorado Civil Union Act in Denver May 3, 2012. The bill passed the Colorado Senate last week.

Gay marriage in America

Phil Fung (R) and Shawn Klein, life-partners of 18 years, walk down the aisle after their marriage ceremony on the 61st floor of the Empire State Building in New York, February, 14, 2012.

Gay marriage in America

Lela McArthur (R) and Stephanie Figarelle, both from Anchorage, AK, kiss on the observation desk of the Empire State Building after being married on the 61st floor in New York, February 14, 2012. Lucky couples have been married each year on Valentine Day's on the top of the Empire State Building for nearly two decades but this year for the first time two same sex couples said "I do" at the iconic New York landmark. The sky-high nuptials followed the legalization of gay marriage in June when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the law making New York the sixth, and most populous U.S. state, to approve gays and lesbians to wed.

Gay marriage in America

U.S. Navy Counselor 1st Class Luz Bautista, 30, who is four-months pregnant, (R) and her fiancee U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandra Schwartz, 24, (L) eat dinner with their daughter Destiny, 6, at their home in San Diego, California September 21, 2011. The 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law, which prevented serving US military personnel from disclosing that they were gay, was abolished. However, the military does not recognize same-sex marriage, and same-sex couples do not have the same benefits, or protection from being posted separately that heterosexual married couples in the military have. Bautista is being posted to Illinois for three years. The couple plans to pass the new baby to each other every few months, so she bonds with both mothers. But Bautista doesn't know when it will be possible for her to live with Alejandra and Destiny again.

Gay marriage in America

Washington State Senator Ed Murray (L) is congratulated by Republican Rep. Maureen Walsh after the State House of Representatives passed a bill endorsing gay marriage in the state, in Olympia February 8, 2012. Walsh was a co-sponsor of the bill.

Gay marriage in America

Supporters of California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage protest outside the California Supreme Court in San Francisco, California before a hearing on the initiative September 6, 2011. California voters banned same sex weddings in 2008 by approving so-called Proposition 8. But last year a U.S. district judge ruled the measure unconstitutional. The hearing discusses whether supporters of an initiative like Proposition 8, could defend a ballot proposition if state leaders did not, a technical yet crucial legal issue in the closely watched gay marriage case.

Gay marriage in America

Phyllis Sifel (L) and Connie Kopelov celebrate after being married at the marriage bureau in lower Manhattan July 24, 2011.

Gay marriage in America

Jonathan Mintz (L), New York City's consumer affairs commissioner, and John Feinblatt (R), a chief adviser to the mayor, embrace their daughters Maeve (2nd L) and Georgia after being married by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion in New York July 24, 2011.

Gay marriage in America

Ray Durand (L) and his partner Dale Shields kiss while having their picture taken after their wedding ceremony at the City Clerk's Office for their wedding ceremony in New York July 24, 2011.

Gay marriage in America

Same-sex couple Mishan Moore (L), 39, wipes a tear as her partner Jacqueline Rodriguez, 34, looks on during their wedding ceremony at Queens Borough Hall in New York July 24, 2011.

Gay marriage in America

Cat Yezbak (L) and Rachel Priebe blow bubbles outside the Manhattan City Clerk's office July 24, 2011.Thousands of gay and lesbian New Yorkers are getting ready to say "I do" this weekend, as the Empire State becomes the sixth in the U.S. to embrace same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage in America

A woman wears a sign on her back which reads, 'Accepting Marriage Proposals' during the Gay Pride Parade in New York June 26, 2011.

Gay marriage in America

People lining the parade route hold signs thanking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the legalization of gay marriage during the Gay Pride Parade in New York June 26, 2011.

Gay marriage in America

People celebrate after the New York Senate passed a bill legalizing gay marriage in New York June 24, 2011. New York's state legislature gave final approval to same-sex marriages, a key victory for gay rights ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

Gay marriage in America

Same-sex couple Elizabeth Chase (L) and Kate Baldridge stand outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco, California January 11, 2010. California's ban on gay marriage went to trial in a federal case that plaintiffs hope to take all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and overturn bans throughout the nation.

Gay marriage in America

Miriam Conners of Stand for Marriage Maine calls supporters to remind them to vote in Yarmouth, Maine, November 3, 2009. The group is looking to repeal Maine's gay marriage law, which was adopted last spring by the Legislature.

Gay marriage in America

Gay couple Ethan Collings (L), 32, and his spouse Stephen Abate, 36, hug as they celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary in West Hollywood, California, June 16, 2009. The couple were married when same-sex marriages were first allowed last year.

Gay marriage in America

A same sex couple kiss before being arrested in a civil disobedience act in San Francisco, California, May 26, 2009.

Gay marriage in America

Supporters of same sex marriages block the streets in a civil disobedience act in San Francisco, California, May 26, 2009.

Gay marriage in America

A couple shelters from the rain under an umbrella as they take part in a rally ahead of the California Supreme Court hearing on Proposition 8, in Los Angeles March 4, 2009.

Gay marriage in America

Supporters gather during a "No on Prop 8" rally in West Hollywood California November 5, 2008. Opponents of Proposition 8 gathered to criticize the passage of the initiative defining marriage as between one man and one woman. California and two other states voted in Tuesday's elections to ban same-sex marriage, overturning a right given to gays and lesbians in the liberal, trend-setting state just months ago in state court.

Gay marriage in America

(L-R) Vivi Morris, Mary Morris, Alex Case and Ninie Case talk under a "Yes on 8'' sign at a pro Proposition 8 election party in Irvine, California November 4, 2008.

Gay marriage in America

Same-sex couple Stuart Hata (R) and Mark Cadena share a private moment in City Hall after their wedding ceremony in San Francisco, California November 3, 2008.

Gay marriage in America

Octogenarian Phyllis Lyon (standing, 2nd L) watches as her partner Del Martin (bottom) signs their gay-marriage certificate in front of San Francisco county clerk Edwin Lee during the first legal same-sex marriage ceremony at San Francisco City Hall in San Francisco, California June 16, 2008. California performed its first legally recognized same-sex weddings and opened its doors to gay and lesbian couples from around the country, a move likely to challenge other states that define marriage as between a man and a woman. The ceremony was presided over by Mayor Gavin Newsom (back, 3rd L).

Gay marriage in America

Sharon Papo (R) and her partner Amber Weiss display their wedding rings after exchanging wedding vows at City Hall on the first full day of legal same-sex marriages in San Francisco, California June 17, 2008. Gay marriage supporters see the move by the most populous U.S. state to allow same-sex weddings as an historic move long overdue, while opponents brand it a moral tragedy.

Gay marriage in America

Actor George Takei (R) and partner Brad Altman are interviewed after applying for a marriage license in West Hollywood, California, June 17, 2008.

Gay marriage in America

Emily Drennen (L) and Lindasusan Ulrich look over their wedding photos in their home in San Francisco, California June 11, 2008. For many California gays and lesbians, getting married is nothing new. They've done it more than once — to the same person. But as the state officially begins marrying same-sex couples, old hands say each time is different.

Gay marriage in America

Bride and groom figurines are on display on wedding cakes at Cake and Art bakery in West Hollywood, California June 4, 2008. A California Supreme Court ruling clears the way for gay marriage ceremonies that could bring a business windfall to San Francisco and other cities.

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