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.

For more gay rights coverage, check out this I Files playlist and subscribe to the channel for ongoing coverage of global issues.

Julia B. Chan worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting until June, 2017. Julia B. Chan is a producer and the digital editor for Reveal's national public radio program. She’s the voice of Reveal online and manages the production and curation of digital story assets that are sent to more than 200 stations across the country. Previously, Chan helped The Center for Investigative Reporting launch YouTube’s first investigative news channel, The I Files, and led engagement strategies – online and off – for multimedia projects. She oversaw communications, worked to better connect CIR’s work with a bigger audience and developed creative content and collaborations to garner conversation and impact.

Before joining CIR, Chan worked as a Web editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner. She managed the newspaper’s digital strategy and orchestrated its first foray into social media and online engagement. A rare San Francisco native, she studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University, focusing on audio production and recording. Chan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.