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Marriages and Civil Unions:

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Quotations reflecting different concepts of marriage:

  • An Apache Blessing: "Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling, to enter into the days of your life together, and may your days be good and long upon the earth."

  • Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, 1992-JAN-8: "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."

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Overview:

Marriage has been an amazingly flexible institution. It is and has been in a continuous state of flux. During various eras and different locations:

It has been a purely secular ceremony. It has been a deeply religious ritual. In some Christian denominations, it is a sacrament.
It has been regarded as a life-long commitment. It has been a temporary handfasting which expired after a year-and-a-day, or even a short-term marriage while a man is on a business trip. 
It has symbolized the transfer of the near absolute ownership and control of a woman from her father to her husband. It has recognized the relationship of two independent individuals, who enter marriage as equals, and treat each other accordingly.
In the past, marriages have been restricted to two persons in some cultures, and allowed to be more than two in others. In the Bible, Solomon was said to have 700 wives and 300 concubines. In predominately Christian countries, marriages have been limited to two persons. In predominately Muslim countries, polygyny is occasionally practiced. This is a form of polygamy with one man and up to four wives. Polygyny is practiced among fundamentalist Mormon denominations in Utah, and British Columbia in Canada, where it is illegal but rarely prosecuted .
In the past, some African-Americans and inter-racial couples have not been permitted to marry in the U.S.. Currently, with few exceptions based on age or familial relationships, any opposite-sex couple, no matter what their race, can marry.
In the past, only opposite-sex couples were permitted to marry.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in mid-2015 throughout the U.S. with the exception of the territory of American Samoa. People who live there are considered American residents and not American citizens. Thus the rulings of the High Court do not necessaryily apply there. Same-sex couples can also marry in Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, England, Wales, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, and many other countries.

In the past, 1,138 federal -- and a few hundred state -- rights, privileges, benefits, and protections had been restricted to heterosexual married couples throughout the U.S.. Committed gay and lesbian couples can now marry throughout the U.S. except in the Territory of American Samoa, and receive 1,138 federal benefits. They have have been able to marry in Canada since mid-2005.

Currently, very attempts to legalize gay marriage are very active in Australia and Northern Ireland -- the only two large predominately English speaking countries in the world.

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Topics covered in this section:

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Related section in this web site:

bulletDivorce and remarriage

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Useful references:

  • The United Apostolic Church International maintains a list of "General Marriage Laws" describing state regulations concerning  who may perform marriages and how marriages are to be registered in the U.S. See:  http://www.uaci.net/laws.htm

  • The Get Your Wedding Favors web site sells unique and elegant wedding favors, gifts, photo albums, etc. See: http://www.getyourweddingfavors.com/

  • XandyrGifts & Wedding Favors also sell unique wedding favors and mementos. See: http://www.xandyrgifts.com/

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or Home > Religious info > Basic religious info > Religious practices > here

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Copyright © 2000 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-MAY-31
Latest update: 2014-MAR-02
Author: B.A. Robinson

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