By: Mark Leon Goldberg on June 26, 2013 UPDATE: I first published this post in March, when the Supreme Court was hearing arguments in a major case that could decide the fate of marriage equality in the USA. In a 5-4 decision, the court has just decided in favor of equality. The ruling did not make same sex marriages the law of the land, but stipulated that the federal government must recognize same sex couples; and potentially makes it impossible for states to ban same sex marriage. The court also struck down a law banning same sex marriage in California, which has a population of 38 million people. (If California were its own country, it would be about the 33rd most populous country in the world.) Today’s rulings takes the USA one step closer to becoming a country in “Dark Blue” in the map below. Original Post: The United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments today in a case that could decide whether or not same sex marriages become legal in every corner of the United States. Right now, only nine states, plus the District of Columbia allow same sex marriage while 31 states have amended their constitutions to specifically prohibit it. A Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality could very well make marriage equality the law of the land. That would be a huge step forward for human rights in the United States. But the global cause of marriage equality — and even of basic human rights for the LGBT community — is still a work in progress. The map below shows where Same Sex Marriage is legal–and where being a homosexual can result in the death penalty. The map comes via White Knot, which notes: Same sex marriages are legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. Many other nations have same-sex civil unions or registered partnerships….Note: Not shown on map, Nepal now permits same sex unions but does not have an official law.) NB. Since this original post in March, France and New Zealand have entered the dark blue zone.