< Marriage

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but homosexual marriage is beginning to gain acceptance.
In recent years there has been a growing movement to extend the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples.

Where??? That seems like a very important piece of information to impart. Remember, this isn't just an encyclopedia about the United States. (I would supply the desired information but frankly, I don't know where it's beginning to gain acceptance.)

I think the article could also stand to have a bit more information about traditional marriage between members of the opposite sex, since that's by far the most common type of marriage practiced... For example, statistics on marriage in the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, and other countries would be very interesting to consider. Moreover, some considerations of the purposes of marriage--the most obvious being to provide a home for children. Again, I'd add this information myself, but I think I'd have to do too much research to be able to do it quickly. --LMS

Try all over Europe: Netherlands has legalized full gay marriage, as I believe Belgium has as well. Germany, France, Denmark have introduced or are in the process of introducing domestic partnership legislation, which is often a step along the way. So it isn't just the US. Of course, this isn't happening without a lot of controversy, but you can see where the trend is heading at the moment. -- Simon J Kissane

Yeah, but anywhere else? Europe and the U.S. is not the world.

I don't know, but I don't think so. As far as I'm aware the gay rights movement hasn't been particularly successful yet except in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand. In most of the rest of the world they've still got too many more basic issues to be worrying about than gay marriage. As to Australia (where I live), while the gay rights movement has been successful in a lot of ways (witness the Mardi Gras), they haven't managed to get gay marriage on the political agenda yet -- the only stuff I have heard about in the Australian media is what is going on overseas.

But even if its only a sizeable movement in the US and Europe, I'd say that while the US and Europe are not the whole world, they are a significant portion of it. -- SJK

I don't know anything about the Onieda Community. Was its form of marriage the usually seen of lifelong procreative marriage or merely a religious ritual? --rmhermen

Procreative, I believe. I don't know enough to go into detail (19th century religious movements amuse me more than they fascinate me, but I live in Upstate NY, home of Mormonism (Joseph Smith found the golden plates within 10 miles of where I sit typing), the Oneida Community, the Fox Sisters and spiritualism, and other exciting flavors of American Religious Expression.

The Oneida Community was a utopian community that evolved (or devolved, depending on your committment to the founder's mission) into the Oneida Ltd. silverware company. --MichaelTinkler

Makes you wonder what goes on at the Oneida Ltd. board meetings...

Funny. And yet, somehow rude....

I have qualms with the initial claim of this article. In anthropology classes (I have an A.B. in Anthro), we learned that the primary purpose of marriage in most societies is to establish familial ties for the children, *not* the people getting married. Another element was establishing ties between the families. That's why arranged marriages made sense for the society; you were going to let your young and impetuous children decide your familial ties? The whole "love" concept of marriage is largely Western, and makes sense in a society where people are more distant -- both physically and emotionally -- and thus the relationship between the two individuals is of overriding importance. (And as a result, more divorces -- the marriage is more dependent on that one relationship, and that relationship is under greater pressure.) -- Belltower

If you've got an A.B. in Anthro and learned stuff to improve the article, by golly then, don't be shy about improving it! Go right ahead! --LMS

I thought the article as a whole presented marriage in a rather negative light, so I added a Religion section that attempts to summarize marriage as viewed by the five great world religions, and added some other comments here and there just to balance some negative aspects of marriage with some positive ones. I don't think I deleted much, if anything, and I've tried to be objective. Hope no one is too offended. --Wesley

In most societies, marriage is monogamous, meaning that a person can be married to only one other person at once. Some societies however, permit polygamy, the having of multiple marriage partners at the same time.

Afaik the proportions are exactly opposite. Most societies allow small-size polygyny, only recently due to expansion of Europeans the proportions were changed. Taw

"In most of Europe, the first recognized legal union between a man and a woman was marriage by capture. A man would kidnap a woman from her home and rape her, afterwards she was considered his wife. That practice died out and the practice of marriage by purchase took its place."

It would be nice if someone give some kind of references for this, as it sounds somewhat more like speculation than it does like well-established history.
Seconded. Took the passage off the page until we get some refs.
Homer is the earliest source I know, though not nearly the earliest available, and here we find both bridal prices and dowries, but nothing like formalized kidnap-marriage, and in contemporary tribal societies one usually hears about arranged marriages and special ceremonies instead.
AFAIK "kidnap-marriage" has existed in some societies, but the idea of a semi-standardized evolutionary timeline of "marriage by kidnap" replaced by "marriage by purchase" replaced by "marriage by mutual consent" sounds very suspicious.

I propose splitting off homosexual marriage as it's a considerable topic in itself. Ed Poor

Ed. No. Stop. There is no paper limitation here -- the article can be as long as it needs to be to be inclusive. You are leaning towards exclusivity.
Otherwise, the article currently suffers from incorrect or at least faulty usage in terms of brideprice and dowry. They aren't the same. Brideprice (in Germanic societies, Morgengeld) is paid byy the groom. Dowry is provided by the wife's family.

Okay, I won't split it, (I generally avoid making major changes like an article split when others object). Ed Poor

Thanks, Ed! ;-)

Someone linked Spouse to Marriage, but it's not defined there.