American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Finding of Fact No. 52: Domestic Partnerships Lack the Social Meaning Associated with Marriage

The landmark 2010 federal District Court decision in the Perry case is historic not only because it ruled that Prop. 8 is in clear and direct violation of the U.S. Constitution, but also because of how it came to that conclusion.

80 findings of fact, based on empirical evidence and expert witness testimony speak to the nature of marriage and discrimination of gay and lesbian Americans. Here is one of them:

52. Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States.

Domestic partnerships, a separate system which gives many of the rights and protections of marriage to gay and lesbian Californians, is woefully inadequate in part because it lacks the social significance and meaning of marriage.

As Harvard Professor Nancy Cott, an expert on the history of marriage in the United States, testified:

“Marriage has been the “happy ending to the romance.” Marriage “is the principal happy ending in all of our romantic tales”; the “cultural polish on marriage” is “as a destination to be gained by any couple who love one another.”