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Commitment Ceremonies

Commitment ceremonies are rituals that celebrate romantic relationships. They may be held to recognize and celebrate the romantic relationship (or relationships) between individuals in same-sex, different-sex, and gender-complicated couples or polyamorous groups. Commitment ceremonies do not provide legal recognition of the relationship being celebrated and thus should not be equated with weddings or marriage. This entry describes commitment ceremonies, summarizes the benefits of having one, and suggests that these rituals hold continued relevance even as same-sex marriage becomes more common.

In the United States, marriage is a contract written by individual states. Those who enter into marriage are beholden to its legal rules. These rules vary by each individual state, but all marriage statutes require the “solemnization” of a marriage license. Weddings are rituals that provide ...

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