Throughout history, marriage has had many different meanings, but under capitalism, a civil marriage is a voluntary, secular, legal contract between two individual adults, which establishes specific legal rights and obligations between the partners (spouses) recognizing the couple as a single unit before the law.
The right for individuals to civilly marry, regardless of sex, race, ancestry or religion is protected under capitalism.
- For example, some religious institutions may not recognize the homosexual marriage within their church. Or, a private wedding photography may refuse to photograph their wedding. However, the partners in a homosexual marriage will receive the same treatment before the law as those in heterosexual marriages.
- For example, a racist organization can verbally oppose such marriages as “corrupting society,” or the mother and father may only want their daughter to marry someone of the same race.
- For example some religious institutions are free to not provide private benefits to the interfaith couple if they chose to do so (i.e., recognition of the marriage within a church), but it is recognized by the government and the law.
This marriage may not be recognized by some private institutions, but it is recognized by the government and the law.