Marriage: An Institution in Transition and Redefinition
In America, surprisingly few states have enacted legislation specifically defining marriage. In 1970, the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, an influential though not widely adopted model for state legislation, defined marriage in more contemporary fashion as ‘a personal relationship between a man and a woman arising out of a civil contract to which the consent of the parties is essential…’. Regulation of family law in general and marriage in particular has long been within the nearly exclusive purview of the individual states. This chapter discusses changes in marriage laws and definitions in the United States, along with the courtship process, requirements of a minimum age for marriage, restrictions on intermarriage based on kinship, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v Virginia, and the effect of successful sex transfer surgery on eligibility to marry.
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