Six states and the nation's capital have recognized the legality of same-sex marriages, either by law or by court order.
But over the past decade and a half, each of the 30 states to consider constitutional amendments that would outlaw such unions has adopted the ban — from Alaska in 1998 to North Carolina earlier this year.
That may change on Election Day, when voters in Maryland, Washington, Maine and Minnesota — awash in money, messages and advertisements from both sides of the issue — will make their decision on whether to recognize gay marriage.
The Ansar Dine group in northeastern Mali is among the Islamist factions proliferating in North Africa and the Middle East. Officials have focused on possible links between these groups and al-Qaida, but counterterrorism experts say understanding the differences is just as important.
In a highly unusual step, the Food and Drug Administration has released a report of inspections it conduct this month of the Massachusetts pharmacy at the center of a national outbreak of fungal infections.