In rural North Dakota, where Melanie Hoffert grew up on her family farm, discussing subjects like homosexuality and same-sex marriage is often considered taboo. Courtesy of Beacon Press hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Beacon Press

Joel Heitkamp smiles while broadcasting in 2009 at AM radio station KFGO in Fargo, N.D. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Elaine Thompson/AP

The small town of Wahpeton, N.D., is one of the places where conversations on same-sex marriage are playing out in schools, churches and families. Maggie Penman/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Penman/NPR

Valentin Danilov, 83, is a former executive officer on a Soviet sub who proudly wears his old Soviet military uniform. Crimeans like Danilov have, without changing their residence, lived in three different countries in the past 25 years — the Soviet Union, then Ukraine and now Russia. Max Avdeev for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Max Avdeev for NPR