Dating changed since 1980 Sextreme dating episode

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This new definition opened the door to gays and lesbians claiming a right to be married, too.

"We now fit under the Western philosophy of marriage," said E. Graff, a lesbian and the author of In one very real sense, Coontz says, opponents of gay marriage are correct when they say traditional marriage has been undermined.

But that basic concept has taken many forms across different cultures and eras.

"Whenever people talk about traditional marriage or traditional families, historians throw up their hands," said Steven Mintz, a history professor at Columbia University. '" The ancient Hebrews, for instance, engaged in polygamy — according to the Bible, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines — and men have taken multiple wives in cultures throughout the world, including China, Africa, and among American Mormons in the 19th century.

Some historians believe these unions were merely a way to seal alliances and business deals.

But Eric Berkowitz, author of , says it is "difficult to believe that these rituals did not contemplate erotic contact.

This trend was augmented by the Industrial Revolution and the growth of the middle class in the 19th century, which enabled young men to select a spouse and pay for a wedding, regardless of parental approval. But as the women's-rights movement gained strength in the late 19th and 20th centuries, wives slowly began to insist on being regarded as their husbands' equals, rather than their property.

As people took more control of their love lives, they began to demand the right to end unhappy unions. "By 1970," said Marilyn Yalom, author of , "marriage law had become gender-neutral in Western democracy." At the same time, the rise of effective contraception fundamentally transformed marriage: Couples could choose how many children to have, and even to have no children at all.

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lived in households with five or more other people. Released during the bureau's 100th anniversary year, the report tracks trends in population, housing and household data for the nation, regions and states."Our goal was to produce a publication that appeals to people interested in the demographic changes that shaped our nation in the 20th century and to those interested in the numbers underlying those trends," said Frank Hobbs, who co-authored the report with Nicole Stoops.

"But, for better and for worse, traditional marriage has already been destroyed," she says, "and the process began long before anyone even dreamed of legalizing same-sex marriage."Same-sex unions aren't a recent invention.

Until the 13th century, male-bonding ceremonies were common in churches across the Mediterranean.

Actually, the institution has been in a process of constant evolution.

Pair-bonding began in the Stone Age as a way of organizing and controlling sexual conduct and providing a stable structure for child-rearing and the tasks of daily life.

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