Marriage, a central institution in most societies, has both symbolic and legal significance. Symbolically, marriage is the joining of two people in an emotional, physical, economic, familial, and sometimes also religious partnership, with the general expectation that marriage is a long-term, even lifetime, commitment. Legally, in most contemporary societies, marriage is an official union overseen by the state, involving a contract between two people and recognized by the state and private entities, conferring certain rights and benefits to married couples (e.g., spousal insurance coverage, hospital visitation rights). Throughout most of Western history, the legal definition of marriage only allowed for the union of a man and a woman (i.e., heterosexual marriage), but this legal definition has recently expanded to include same-sex partners (i.e., two men ...

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