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In most societies marriage also established the permissible social relations allowed to the offspring, including the acceptable selection of future spouses.Until the late 20th century, marriage was rarely a matter of free choice.When the forms of communication with outside groups are limited, endogamous marriage is a natural consequence.

Exogamy, the practice of marrying outside the group, is found in societies in which kinship relations are the most complex, thus barring from marriage large groups who may trace their lineage to a common ancestor.

In societies in which the large, or extended, family remains the basic unit, marriages are usually arranged by the family.

In 2000 the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriages; the law went into force on April 1, 2001.

In the ensuing years, numerous other countries—including Canada (2005), France (2013), the United States (2015), and Germany (2017)—followed suit.

In Western societies love between spouses came to be associated with marriage, but even in Western cultures (as the novels of writers such as Henry James and Edith Wharton attest) romantic love was not the primary motive for matrimony in most eras, and one’s marriage partner was carefully chosen.

Endogamy, the practice of marrying someone from within one’s own tribe or group, is the oldest social regulation of marriage.

Human beings, at the top of the evolutionary scale, require the most time of all species to reach maturity.

This imposes increased duties on human parents for the care of their children, and marriage traditionally has been seen as the institution best suited to fulfill these parental duties and responsibilities.

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Marriage, a legally and socially sanctioned union, usually between a man and a woman, that is regulated by laws, rules, customs, beliefs, and attitudes that prescribe the rights and duties of the partners and accords status to their offspring (if any).

In addition, some countries extended benefits and obligations to same-sex couples by means of a registered partnership or civil union, both of which terms meant different things in different contexts.

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