American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

The Word “Marriage” Has Meaning

Many people grow up dreaming of falling in love and having the perfect wedding. They do not grow up saying “I want to be domestic partners.”

During the U.S. District Court trial of Prop. 8, the first time a federal court heard testimony about marriage equality, Dr. Ilan H. Meyer, Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University, testified to the word marriage holds a special significance in our society:

It is, I think, quite clear that the young children do not aspire to be domestic partners. But, certainly, the word “marriage” is something that many people aspire to. Doesn’t mean that everybody achieves that, but at least I would say it’s a very common, social, socially-approved goal for people as they think — for children as they think about their future and for people as they develop relationships. For young people, and certainly for people later on, this is a desirable and respected type of goal that if you attain it, it’s something that gives you pride and respect.

The word “marriage” has meaning. Separate institutions, like civil unions and domestic partnerships, are inherently unequal.