Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the United States may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT citizens. Six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire) have legalized same-sex marriage.
Sexual acts between persons of the same sex have been legal nationwide in the US since 2003, pursuant to the US Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v Texas. Openly lesbian and gay members of the US military are subject to the US's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, but U.S. President Barack Obama indicated during the 2008 presidential campaign his desire to end this policy, though his administration asked the Supreme Court to not hear a case challenging the policy as unconstitutional.
The most visible LGBT-specific political issue in the United States in the 2000s is government recognition of same-sex relationships. Six states currently offer marriage to same-sex couples. California performed same-sex marriages in 2008, but in November of that year, voters passed Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in the state through an amendment to the state constitution. Opponents of the ban are seeking to overturn Proposition 8 in court. Additionally, some states offer civil unions or other types of recognition which offer some of the legal benefits and protections of marriage. 20 states outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 13 states outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
Adoption policies in regards to gay and lesbian parents vary greatly from state to state. Some allow adoption by same-sex couples, while others ban all "unmarried couples" from adoption. Mississippi bans adoptions by "two people of the same sex" regardless of the nature of the relationship between them. Florida was the only state in the US that prohibits even single lesbian or gay persons from adopting, but it was then repealed.